Category Archives: Policing

From the Mud Creek News

A submission from David Daniels, also available in the Mud Creek News which may, or may not be, at the Post Office.

LEADERSHIP BY OMISSION OR HOW DECISIONS ARE MADE BY DOING NOTHING

The RCMP’S long term contract under which it provides policing services to the Town is set to expire in March, 2012.  The Town budgeted $1,131,400 for police protection for fiscal year 2011-2012.  That amounts to slightly less than 15% of the Town’s total operating budget or about 1 out of every 7 tax dollars goes towards policing.

Has the Mayor led a public effort to investigate whether
Town residents are satisfied with the policing services provided by the RCMP before a new multi-year contract is signed?  Has the Mayor or Council explored alternatives to the RCMP such as a cooperative agreement with the Kentville police department or Kings County or forming its own police force, which it once had?  Has the Mayor even informed the public about the status of the RCMP contract?  (The two 2011 Mayor’s Newsletters did not contain any mention that the RCMP contract would be expiring in March of 2012.)

Chapter 38 of the Town’s Bylaws states that the Police Services Advisory Committee  “ . . . shall make a complete annual report to Town Council, and other reports from time to time as required.”   It also requires the Committee “To provide annually to Council and the NCO an evaluation of the policing services with the Town with reference to Policing Goals and Objectives as stated.”  

If such reports were available, at least the Council and public might be able to make an informed decision about the policing services provided by the RCMP.  But there are no such reports on the Town’s website. 

In 2009, the Town spent $20,000 on consultants to write a Public Engagement Tool Kit.  The Tool Kit includes a Public Participation Process 


Checklist/Guide.  If the Council had gone through the checklist, which it did not, it might have decided to engage the public on this issue.  

It isn’t as though this issue snuck up on the Mayor; it’s been known for years that the RCMP contract was ending in March 2012.  If the Town Council could spend time deciding whether the Witch Hazel should be the official tree of Wolfville, it had the time to discuss with the public whether it was getting its money’s worth from a $1.13 million expenditure.

I don’t know if the Town should sign another multi-year contract with the RCMP; I don’t know if there are other options available; or whether the contract for RCMP policing can be modified to better serve the needs of Town residents.  I didn’t live in the Town when it had its own police force.   

Why hasn’t the Mayor or Council pushed for public consultation on this issue?  Is it because the Mayor and other Council members feel it is not an important issue warranting public engagement?  Do they  believe that there are no good alternatives?   

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter anymore.  It’s too late.  By doing nothing, a decision has been made.

Vandals strike again

We wonder how and why these vandals choose their targets, or is it just random idiocy?

From the Police Briefs , Dec. 16th

Vandalism under investigation

Three incidents of vandalism took place in Wolfville during the weekend.

Early on Dec. 10 a window was broken at Wolfville School when a piece of metal was thrown at it.

On Dec. 11 some windows were broken at MP Scott Brison’s office off Harbourside Drive while a hammer was used to break windows at the Wolfville Memorial Library.

 

Lounge issues

The last in the series of submissions from David Daniels .We wish to thank Mr. Daniels for keeping his eye on Council and Town doings and sharing his observations with townsfolk via this blog and The Mud Creek News.

LOUNGE HOURS
The issue of amending the Town’s Municipal Planning Strategy to allow the Town’s lounges to stay open an extra hour, till 2 a.m. for a maximum of 6 days a year is moving forward.  A public participation meeting and public hearing should take place in the coming months.
It has taken over 2 years for this issue to have a public airing.  Excessive drinking and health and behavioural concerns which may accompany excessive drinking are serious matters which the Town and Acadia University should be addressing.  But should public discussion be focused upon an extra six hours of serving liquor over the course of a entire year?   
David A. Daniels 

 

Police – Absent

Here is a second submission from David Daniels, also published in the latest issue of that illusive publication, the Mud Creek News.

 THE STRANGE CASE OF THE MISSING COMMITTEE

For fiscal year 2010-2011, the Town will spend an estimated $1,234,241 for law enforcement services, which made up almost 17% of the Town’s annual budget.
The Council established by Chapter 38 of its Bylaws a Police Services Advisory Committee (the “Committee”), “a body to provide advice and policy options to Council and the RCMP” concerning all policing matters.  I could find no other document on the Town’s website which concerns the Town’s oversight or monitoring of the RCMP.  The Town has a RCMP Advisory Board.  There is nothing on the website to indicate that this is not the committee referred to in Ch. 38.  
This Committee is required to meet, according to s. 5 of the bylaws at least four times a year.  In addition, s. 5 states: “The Committee shall make a complete annual report to Town Council, and other reports from time to time as required.”   
Among the Committee’s responsibilities as set out in s. 6 are:
  To advise Council concerning all financial and budgetary matters relating to the provision of policing services.
  To provide a forum for residents, taxpayers,  business people, concerned citizens and groups to present their complaints, concerns, or quires to both Town Council and the RCMP. 
  To provide annually to Council and the NCO an evaluation of the policing services with the Town with reference to Policing Goal and Objectives as stated.” 
The Town’s Committee policy, effective August 19, 1996 provides, among other things, that  the “minutes of all Committee meetings are to be recorded . . . “ (s. 1.7) and that “Committee meetings shall be recorded in sufficient detail . . . to enable Council members to be reasonably conversant with the action required.”  s. 1.14. 
The Committee is presently chaired by Councilor Hugh Simpson, and has been so for the past several years.
If you want to find out what this Committee has been doing for the past several years, you’d be mostly out of luck.  The following documents are posted on the Town’s website under the RCMP Advisory Board:
Meeting Agendas.  One in 2009.  None in 2010.  One in 2011.
Minutes.  Two in 2008.  None in 2009.  None in 2010.  One in 2011 (which is misfiled in 2010.  There is reference in these minutes to approval of minutes of a Feb 14, 2011 meeting).
Reports.  One report in 2008.  None in 2009. None in 2010.  None in 2011.  
Without RCMP Committee minutes or reports, one can only wonder how the Council has been evaluating the work of the RCMP.  Has the RCMP Committee been meeting and no minutes taken or posted?  Or have there been no meetings and no annual reports in violation of the Town’s bylaws.  Can Councilor Simpson and  Mayor Stead explain these apparent lapses in good governance?  
David A. Daniels

Alarming

Here is some news of note concerning policing:

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are developing a provincial strategy in relation to police response to alarms. …“Say we get an alarm, we go and find a mouse has run across the floor or a box fell,” Berwick RCMP Cpl. Mike Carter told Berwick council February 22.

The proposed strategy would see RCMP move to a “verified response” model for single-zone alarm incidents. A verified response means some form of verification has been made by an alarm company or an eye witness there has been an unwanted intrusion before police will attend. …

To March 15, the RCMP are requesting home and business owners provide feedback on the strategy via an online form on the Nova Scotia RCMP website. Information about the proposed changes to alarm response may alse be found.

RCMP will continue to be dispatched to multi-zone alarms such as glass breaks, hold-up alarms, panic alarms, and medical alarms etc. [emph. ours]

read more

AND

Kentville’s emergency services raced to almost 200 alarms in 2010, only to discover they were false.

The town is getting serious about reigning in the problem with a new bylaw that would fine repeat offenders $200 to $10,000. …

Mander pointed out the bylaw is “more focused on the commercial side of things” and education, as well as officer discretion, would be part of the implementation.

Council originally discussed partnering with Kings County and Kings RCMP on the issue, but Mander said that was no longer on the table.

The RCMP has gone to a different strategy to reduce alarms,” he said, “which, in my view, will put more people at risk.”

Police Chief Mark Mander presented the proposed regulation to Kentville’s council advisory committee Oct. 11. Home and business owners would also be banned from having their alarm system automatically dial emergency services. [emph ours]

Read it all

It’s a puzzle why , when we are told everywhere that crime is decreasing, that the From the Cruiser section gets longer every year. The perception of the public is contrary to the official statistics. Could it be that satisfactory police response is decreasing even faster than the crime rate?

June 21, 2011

Observations from “a resident with a perspective to share”

A few weeks back when I was involved in my usual early morning routine of retrieving beer bottles and plastic cups from my garden and the front lawns of my elderly neighbours, I noticed that two limbs were broken off the tree on the boulevard …  Two weeks ago my neighbor across the street had his front window broken and his fence damaged by students … The other issue that is slowly coming to a head is my ongoing attempts to have municipal bylaws
enforced … like the community’s apparent inability to enforce laws prohibiting open alcohol on the street, you can appreciate how stressful and frustrating it is for residents to live in a situation where regulations are presumably in place to protect their property and quality of life – and yet they seem to serve little purpose. … There is a strong market for footloose entrepreneurs and retirees with resources. These individuals will come to Wolfville; they will invest in the community; they will revitalize existing housing stock or purchase high density and high quality new residences …  [BUT] if it takes 12‐18 months (or more) to have straightforward municipal bylaws enforced; if 3 nights every week they must put up with excessive noise; property damage; public mischief and litter; if when they walk to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning they have to walk around broken beer bottles – they won’t come to Wolfville, or if they come, they won’t stay.

From  an attachment to the Agenda package for the Community Development Committee meeting for  Thursday, June 23, 2011  (7:00pm Council Chambers): Do read the whole thing.

We are sorry to say we have heard similar comments presented to Town Council before. We don’t have to lose a hockey game to have mob mayhem on OUR streets.

The memorandums preceding this letter are also of interest. New by-laws — but if the Town cannot enforce the ones they have what is the point.

Blogging Frank 583

We continue our tradition of paging through Atlantic Frank magazine for stories of interest. This ish has two Wolfville specific bits, both on the Letters Page.

MOVIN ON UP… Dear Frank: In your latest Lutz Becker legal dispatch (Frank 582) you forgot to mention that Wolfville Mayor Bob Stead and CAO Roy Brideau have moved their town hall offices upstairs. The town is spending precious tax dollars on town hall renovations, and Mayor Bob is now even less accessible to the public than before. [signed] Hesin D. Attic, Wolfville

But safe from Town crazies? We are sure Council would have all kinds of legitimate reasons for this move, if anyone was allowed to ask about it, but since questions are still taboo, we can speculate that it is to make room for a full body scanner downstairs.

Speaking of crazies, the second letter references a Wolfville murder:

EQUAL TIME FOR EQUAL CRIMES  – Dear Frank: It is shameful that there are 60 plus unsolved murder and missing persons cases in Nova Scotia. I have to ask: why have you singled out the Paula Gallant one? It appears that you think this one has more significance than the others. [signed] Saul V Demmaul, Hubbards

Leslie Conrad, Jonathan Reader and Lisa Purcell are pictured [although Leslie is wrongly identified as the one on the right when her picture is on the left.]

Frank continues to be the paper of record for the over-spending habits of our august leaders. Here’s just one example:

TOO MUCH INFORMATION [by] I. Nocallbach

If Graham Steele wants to reduce the cost of government he need look no further than the bloated ranks of my dear friends at Communication Nova Scotia.

The annual CNS payroll has swelled from $3 million a decade ago to over $10 million today. I’m no Mensa cadidate, but methinks that’s a hefty $7 million increase, of dubious value to taxpayers.

We’d say so, wouldn’t you?

Whereas the department employed 105 in 2006 ( opposed to only 57 in 200, see Frank 505 for the rundown) now 138 spindocotors are living large, thanks to Communications Nova Scotia largesse.

And the salaries have increased too, with 30 of these employees raking in over $70,000. With this kind of “entitlement” rampant everywhere, at every level of government, Wolfville administration a prime example, no wonder we are in debt. This is not “sustainable”.

RELATED [PDF]

According to Statistics Canada, there are 3.5 million Canadians employed in the public sector out of 16.9 million working Canadians — 20.7 per cent! This means one in five working Canadians are employed by the public sector. These jobs are funded from the taxes paid by the other 80 per cent of Canadians working in the private sector. This has been a worsening condition over the past 40 years.