By Stephen Hawboldt
Councillor Habinsky wants two new officers
© file photo
Councillor Habinski is asking for two new officers.
Councillor Timothy Habinski who represents the County Council on the Annapolis County Police Advisory Board wants funding for two additional RCMP officers in the next fiscal year. He made the request at the December session of the committee of the whole council.
Habinski told the council that he was moved by the presentation by RCMP Constable Ross Lloyd to the Police Advisory Board. “The case is not overstated,” Habinski said.
As reported in the Spectator earlier in the month, Lloyd told the Police Advisory Board, “members are extended beyond capacity. Our family time suffers when we are exhausted. My ability to be physically fit suffers. I get sick more often. And I can’t do as good a job as I would like. Morale is low and working alone is dangerous.”
It was reported that officers in Annapolis County have the highest case load in the province at an average of 120 cases. This is nearly double the provincial average of 67 cases per officer. In Annapolis County, the ratio of police to population is one officer per 1,352 people, compared to national and provincial averages of about 500 people per officer.
In the immediate term, Habinski wants the municipality to investigate various options to fund a crime analyst for the Annapolis detachment. Habinski said the most recent meeting of the Police Advisory Board included a presentation from, Sheri Bezanson, a crime analyst with the Kings RCMP.
As reported in the Spectator earlier this month that by carefully monitoring criminal activity, the crime analyst can, “suggest the most strategic uses of police resources.” It was reported that calls to the Kings RCMP have declined by 8 per cent since the introduction of a crime analyst.
Councillor Habinski said that the costs for a crime analyst are substantially lower than for a constable. He suggested that the municipality explore the possibility of sharing the position with Digby.
The council agreed that CAO, John Ferguson should seek a meeting with RCMP Staff Sergeant John DeWinter to discuss the issues raised at the Police Advisory Board. Last year, Council provided funding for two additional constables. At that time, the police Advisory Board said it needed six additional officers to handle the policing load in Annapolis County.