If you've ever had to get a criminal record check for employment, volunteering or get fingerprinted, you know it can cost a few bucks.
Ever wonder how much the Vancouver Police Department rakes in from all that checking into your past and dirtying up your fingers?
It's a fair chunk of change.
According to a recent report that went before the Vancouver Police Board, the department's net revenue last year for the services totaled $936,300.That's $4,403 more than in 2010 and $148,879 more than in 2009 when net revenue totaled $787,421.
Last year, 19,135 people in Vancouver required one or more of the services. The most popular service was what police refer to as a "record clearance for employment," with 9,658 customers.
It just so happens that service costs $70 per person, the highest in Metro Vancouver, with Delta and Abbotsford departments charging $65 each. Surrey RCMP offers the lowest price at $53.50. The report doesn't explain why Vancouver is the most expensive.
The same check for a volunteer in Vancouver, which is sometimes covered by the agency you're volunteering for, is $25. However, in Surrey, Richmond, Port Moody, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Langley, Delta, Coquitlam and Burnaby, the service is free.
To get fingerprinted in Vancouver, it will now cost $60, an increase of $10 over last year. The police board approved the increase Sept. 12.
Why the increase?
"The recommendation to increase the fee for fingerprint service will provide the VPD with a mechanism to recover the capital expenditure for the [new] electronic fingerprinting equipment while still being comparable with other Metro Vancouver police agencies' fees," the VPD report said of the $60,000 equipment. "This technology greatly enhances the service provided to the citizens of Vancouver but it has not reduced the time involved in completing this work. The department will be able to recover the cost of this equipment in approximately two years through the modest recommended increase in fees."
The price for fingerprinting in Vancouver is still cheaper than three other departments: Abbotsford, New Westminster and Delta police charge $65 each to ink a finger.
On the topic of money...
Deputy Chief Adam Palmer told the police board at its Sept. 12 meeting that, as of June, the department was $453,000 under budget and predicting a $108,000 surplus by the end of the year.
That, of course, could change with a spate of major crime investigations or something like another Occupy movement requiring police presence.
If the budget stays on course, I believe it will be the eighth consecutive year the VPD has balanced its budget-and you can bet city manager Penny Ballem will ensure it is balanced.
That was Ballem, after all, who was riding up the elevator at the VPD's Cambie Street precinct last Wednesday to meet with the police board to talk budget.
OK, I screwed up.
How did I not know that some nudists like to be described as "naturists" and not "naturalists," as I mistakenly wrote in two previous entries in this space?
Sorry about that naturists.
A naturalist, of course, is a person who specializes in natural history, especially in the study of plants and animals in their natural surroundings.
For the love of nature, I hope I got that right.
For more information on why people like to doff their clothes and other mysteries related to naturism, I encourage a visit to the Federation of Canadian Naturists' website.
It's quite revealing, so to speak.