Amherst seeking provincial police review

Darrell Cole
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Costs continue to escalate

AMHERST - Amherst wants the province to complete a review of policing services in Nova Scotia in light of escalating costs.

"The costs of municipal policing are increasing at an alarming rate. These rising costs call into question the sustainability of municipal policing services," Deputy Mayor Dale Fawthrop said during Amherst council's June session last night.

The town's resolution is being forwarded to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities asking the organization to make the request of the province. The review would include the nature of services provided by municipal units, the level of services and the agencies providing the services.

Amherst's police budget is about $3.8 million, representing a significant chunk of the town's $16-million budget.

Mayor Robert Small said the town is feeling the pressure of rising policing costs and he raised the issue during a meeting earlier this month with Justice Minister Ross Landry. The mayor said it doesn't appear as though the town has a strategy or plan in place to deal with escalating policing costs.

"If the municipalities want the province to do something, they need the support of the UNSM," Small said.

Fawthrop said the problem is not only Amherst's. He said many municipal units are facing the same pressures and it's not a question of municipal policing versus the RCMP.

"All municipal units are facing increasing policing costs. In some cases it represents 25 per cent of the budget, and many small communities can't afford it," Fawthrop said.

Fawthrop said the town wants the province to look policing and look for ways to that municipal units can alleviate some of the pressure they are facing.

Organizations: Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, Amherst council, RCMP

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • jr
    June 29, 2012 - 13:27

    Well , not to pick on the Police, but there is some truth in saying that they have local gathering spots. I have seen on many occasions tow or three cars at Tim Hortons late at night and then maybe they drive around for a short time and are back again. This I have seen more than once. At the same time, when people make comments about being caught going "over the posted" speed limit then I have no pitty for them as they are actually breaking the law. Even if they are five kilometers over then that is still over the posted limit. These same people are normally the ones that squak about others going too fast in thier neighborhoods. They have a job to do and it is no different than any other place of work where people gather in one spot to eat or take a coffee break. After the break they go back to the job at hand. I have family that are retired officers and if you think you can do a better job, then you go get trained and become one yourself. Pretty soon you will start going after the EHS foks and Fire Department. Some people have small minds.

    June 27, 2012 - 10:42

    2 police men have been shot in amherst,, my god father, and my father.. So as far as I'am concerned there can never be enough protection. If a family member of yours was shot im sure we'd all be saying, why wasnt there more police working that night. IMO

  • WAB
    June 26, 2012 - 21:07

    u people have to much time to complain about nothing, these guys are out doing their job regardless of where they park and u are still compaining, as 4 40 some officers on the force unless u know what u are talking don't put it in print, as for the cars at the A & W before u talk about this maybe u should see if they are RCMP cars or town cars and just maybe one of these cars was being driven by the RCMP officer who said town polcie have to much time on their hands, if this was even said by and RCMP officer, people always seem to complain about any police force until they need them and for the most part people who are are on this site no doubt have had run ins with the police or have criminal records

  • LOL
    June 26, 2012 - 20:55

    I really have to lol at some comments on here. amherst res,wow did you even read what you wrote? please wake up. Amherst has a major crime unit, they have a drug unit etc.. and yes some sit at the old RCMP station waiting for speeders. why? would you want a speeder flying down the road hitting a kid on a bike, or hitting a car with a baby in it? sitting waiting for speeders is a major part of the job. they do it here and everywhere. RCMP do it all the time. sitting at A&W so what. they get a break like everyone else. and they have to eat,, yes they are human. before you or anyone write a comment, think first. i,m sure if u work u take breaks, and i,m sure u eat lol. take away police officers and crime will go up. keep it the way it is, just sayin.

  • towntaxpayer
    June 26, 2012 - 18:27

    More cops than criminals? I know the job is probably hard sometimes and the police do their best here. But on a saturday or sunday when its sunny and warm, they drive by my place a good 10-12 times a day and turn around at steamboats? It makes you wonder what they do all day. I pay my taxes twice a year like the next guy and i am always paranoid of my own town police service catching me a needle width over 50 on east victoria...parking at the old rcmp the apartment building beside it or the empty lot across from my little slice of paradise...maybe they will stop leaving tread depressions behind the church sign on west victoria...once again...widest safest road road in town and they are trying to catch the 8-5ers coming and going from work...paying their town taxes Ok i'm done thanks for listening

  • taxpayer
    June 26, 2012 - 15:14

    Maybe the salaries of police officers in general are too high? RCMP officers are paid the same salary in the greater Vancouver area (with the highest housing costs in the country) as they are in Parrsboro or Pugwash. That makes zero sense. And municipalities across Canada are forced to increase the salaries for their police officers because of the pressure the RCMP place on them through this national wage standard. Police should be paid based on the resources of the municipality they are hired to protect. If you have a poor impoverished area compared to a rich wealthy community, then the salary levels should reflect the property tax revenue the municipality has to play with.

  • Geoff Siddall
    June 26, 2012 - 12:20

    our police services in town do a valuble service but when i see an officer approching a car with his hand on his gun at 4 pm im shocked to notice that it a a gray haired Grandmother (i ask how many police offices have been shot but thes maw barkers) they seem to be all over the place ...the police that is but only a few at nite ...this is the time the majority of crimes are commited may be a better use of manpower might be in order if all they can do is nail traffic offences may be the populace should start pleading not guilty and demand a trial see what happins when the provance has to pay 12000.00 to collect that 160.00 fine when the courts are all tied up with traffic offences im sure some think will be said from above

  • Jack On The Rocks
    June 26, 2012 - 10:26

    Imagine,an RCMP officer sayin "too much time on their hands"..when themselves on nightshift go home and sleep until if any calls are relayed for assistance..speakin of too much time on your hands...

  • Amherst Res
    June 26, 2012 - 09:13

    The police officers of this town spend an inordinate amount of time parked at the old RCMP station on Victoria street. I see them parked there almost every day - sometimes even two or three times in the same day! The police should be spending their time focusing on drug and crime prevention and less time trying to catch people driving 55 in a 50 zone! Maybe we should consider adopting Sackville's policy and going with only RCMP?

  • Joe Friday
    June 26, 2012 - 09:05

    So after weeks of denying that they had in fact asked for a review, the mayor and council decide to come clean and admit the truth. Policing issues aside, its just another example of how the mayor, council and staff at town hall do everything under the radar and behind closed doors. We as a town deserve better than this. no one elected these councillors to do things behind our backs. They're worried about the cost of police services, and yet they can come up with millions to rejuvenate the downtown, and millions to make the old post office into their new clubhouse. The council needs to be turfed in the fall when we go to the polls. And I say this: no decisions about our policing should be made until after an election . I just don't trust these people and I think its the prevalent feeling in the town.

  • Jason
    June 26, 2012 - 08:56

    too many officers? we can never have enough...the average age of amherst is like 49 years old ....that means that probably 3 deviations from the mean there are still young ruffians out there trying to steal my pouridge or use the old people work out equipment at Dickey Park.....we need to be protected from our will amherst thrive as a retirement villa without lots of Police!

  • John Q Taxpayer
    June 26, 2012 - 08:36

    Well considering the town just hired 3 new recruits in the last 6 months or so, was this being looked at then or has the costs just suddenly been realized. Also at any given time of the day, you can drive by A&W and see 1,2 or more cruisers parked there. Safest place in town most mornings. So why doesn't Mayor Small & the rest of the admin just save the province & taxpayers more money by just opening their eyes and looking around. It is quite obvious that the force is overstaffed & underworked....

  • Another Thought
    June 26, 2012 - 08:07

    I believe I read a little while ago that the Amherst Police Department has over 30 people in it and that it was to grow to somewhere around 43 or so. Last time I checked the population of Amherst is not growing that much. Yeah, maybe we have too many officers for a town this size. I value the jobs they do though. But like all government / municipal / town / employees the costs are getting out of control and need to be brought under control.

  • Just Sayin
    June 26, 2012 - 07:48

    While there is no denying we have a safe town, when recently traveling into town from Sackville, I viewed what must have been new police recruits during a photo opt at the Amherst sign at the bottom of the Industrial Park entrance. Later the same group leisurely posed at the Amherst sign in front of the YMCA, where again shocked I saw what looked to be approx 8-10 officers. Most mornings traveling to work we see a minimal of two police vehicles back to back on South Albion and at times three traveling a relativity short distance from South Albion Street to Church Street. Recently the town paid to have a senior officer ( a what cost compared to a rookie and who would have been likely a more believable candidate) stand at a light across from Irving with a hood over his head pretending to be a "I don;t know what" signaling waiting police officers of any traffic infractions. When mentioning this to a RCMP officer he laughed and stated "Too Much Time On Their Hands". It is rumored the town of Amherst has 43 officers on staff for a town of less than 10,000 citizens and while staff have steadily been on the rise, new tax payers choosing to live in the town of Amherst has not. It is not time to look at what staffing ratios are in other towns of the same size and quickly, before plans proceed with a move of police services to two separate operations. If I was a returning candidate for town council and wanted to be reconsidered for reelection this might be a smart consideration. Just Sayin!

    June 26, 2012 - 05:06

    Maybe we have too many officers for the size of this town?