There’s been three violent attacks near Hess Village in just over a week. There are supposed to be additional police officers on weekends during the summer to help with any issues in the entertainment district but most of the time Hamilton Police can’t find officers to do it.
It’s called Paid Duty. Extra shifts that officers can pick up outside of their regular hours.
Today CHCH learned from Hamilton Police that those shifts in Hess Village are only filled about 20 percent of the time.
An 18 year-old man was stabbed in the head during a fight early Saturday morning near the Lazy Flamingo.
Two days before that two teenagers, one 17 the other 19, were sent to hospital after a shooting not far from Hess Village.
The weekend before, a woman in her 30’s was also stabbed next to the bar Blu.
The party goers in Hess Village are often accompanied by extra police officers says Hamilton City Councilor Lloyd Ferguson.
“Last weekend there was supposed to be 5 paid duty officers there and there weren’t any. However I want the public to feel comfortable with the fact that we have an action team that can be picked up and moved with quickly.”
Police Union President Clint Twolan says not many officers want to do it.
“There are officer safety issues. I myself have been attacked a couple of time down in Hess and that was in tactical uniform, so it can be a difficult place to work at some times.”
He says with staffing shortages there’s lots of extra shifts and paid duty to choose from.
“When you have the option to do a shift down at Hess for 4 or 5 hours or you can come in and depending on the weather you can be in a cruiser for 12 hours, more and more the officers are selecting the 12 hour shift.”
At one time a city bylaw required bar owners to pay for extra policing. 10 additional officers. That number has been reduced to five because the crowds aren’t as big as they used to be.
“Its not an uncommon problem, we have a huge demand particularly in the summer months our paid duty officers.”
The Union President telling CHCH even if one or two officers agree to the paid duty shifts here in Hess Village it’s not enough. There needs to be a number of officers to make sure they are safe.