SPRINGHILL – The Atlantic Police Association is advocating for its own in a process they say is flawed.
© Christopher Gooding - The Citizen-Record
Springhill police are shouldering more than their share of the town's decision to dissolve, the Atlantic Police Association's CEO says.
Chief Executive Officer David Fisher has taken aim at the Town of Springhill for how it presented the call for a policing review more than a year ago, and how its gone by the wayside today in the face of the town announcing its dissolution.
When Springhill called for the policing review, Fisher said, it lumped the force into the community’s protective services budget, which represents more than 40 per cent of the town’s budget. Policing, however, costs Springhill approximately 16 per cent of its budget but today that 40 per cent reference is still being used as other town’s look at the cost of policing and possible dissolution.
“It keeps getting repeated in the terms of cost,” Fisher said. “Most recently the mayor of Kentville repeated those numbers. It’s seems to have taken on a life of its own.”
It may seem like an old axe to grind, but Fisher says he feels challenging the way the cost of policing in Springhill was pitched last year is relevant to the dissolution process taking shape in the community right now.
“I think the finger has been pointed at the police in a roundabout way,” Fisher said. “It started with the whole policing review. Then we were told we’d have a decision quickly. Then, instead of a decision, they announced dissolution with no consultation with the public when we were expecting a decision on policing.”
Like some factions of the community, Fisher said he is upset there was no public consultation before the decision was made and policing options for the community should have been part of that discussion.
“The public should be able to look at the facts and their options, whatever those options are – keep things the same, reduced service or shared service – and decide what is best for them,” Fisher said. “An informed public will make the right decision. If the public, at the end of the day, chose a different service we would accept that.”
In March of this year, the Town of Springhill passed a motion to dismiss the Springhill Police Service at the end of March 2015, in accordance with its agreement to provide 12-months notice of terminating its contract. That decision came after the town announced it could no longer afford to continue as a town.
The town has since announced it will hold a public meeting on May 15 to discuss its financial situation in greater detail.