More police cutbacks on the horizon in Kentville

Wendy Elliott
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Kentville Police Service

“You might not hear about it, but I can tell you that in the last two-and-a-half to three weeks, three or four of our officers have been assaulted on the job. One was attacked by a pit bull.”

Although they are not faint of heart, Kentville police officers are frustrated. Their numbers could be cut this fall and they feel attacked.

“There’ll be two losses. That’s not even a maybe,” said Police Association of Nova Scotia representative Kevin Pick of proposed cuts to the Kentville force.

The town’s police commission met to hear about council’s decision to reduce the core complement by one and Pick says that will result in the loss of a further officer paid for by the province.

Kentville cut back on police numbers by one a year ago, resulting in the loss of the community policing position.

According to Pick, 1991 was the last time Kentville cut front line officers in the 125-year-old department. He said the overtime costs that accrued were so significant that two positions were restaffed.

“We had many meetings last year,” he said, “and members of town council and the CAO don’t know policing.”

Pick said losing one officer in 2013 was a blow to morale, but now he believes that public safety could be a risk.

“In seven years, I haven’t seen morale this low,” said Pick, “and this is after the events in Moncton and the stabbings here last week.”

Pick said Kentville officers are some of the lowest paid in the province and they have no pension provisions. He is concerned that when loitering and other issues were brought to council, they did not see a need to consult the general public about policing cuts.

“This is in a town with $1.3 million in reserves,” Pick said.

Pick says businesses have moved to the community because of the fast response time a local police force offers.

“We stand to lose our best illegal drug fighter,” Pick said. “I hope the public gets behind us or town council could maybe walk a mile in my shoes.”

Two officers, not one

Kentville’s police commission heard one cut to the core staffing complement will result in a second cut to the integrated street crime unit due to a 2007 agreement with the province.

Chief administrative officer Mark Phillips said council believes that 14 officers can police a town of 6,094 residents, prompting the unanimous decision June 24. He also reiterated council’s right to make the cut.

Phillips said the move would not take place until Sept. 30.

Police Chief Mark Mander termed the cuts “ill advised” and requested council to reconsider its stance.

“Further cuts would produce concerns that I am obligated to point out,” Mander said. He added that there had been no commission or public input.

“This is not a large service,” he said, “so the loss of even one officer has an impact and for the social fabric of the community this is a significantly historic decision.”

The commission decided to follow Phillips’ suggestion and proceed with the cuts, while asking the provincial justice department if the town would still be compliant in terms of the police act.

Deputy Mayor Mark Pearl said he was proud of the department’s response time when the stabbings occurred.

“That’s not the discussion, it’s costs Canada wide up that are up for discussion. The current model is not sustainable. The commission needs to understand the tolerance level of taxpayers. We don’t want to lose any services or policemen, but this is about what the taxpayers can bear.”

Pearl recommended the commission advocate with the province for the retention of the second officer.

Coun. Nola Folker-Hill, who chairs the commission, asked Phillips if there is any onus on commission to involve the public in the discussions around cuts.

Phillips said public involvement is always good governance, but he did not think it was a requirement.

Organizations: Police Association of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Kentville, Moncton, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Chris
    June 28, 2014 - 17:08

    Here is a "city" in Manitoba for comparison. Morden, Mb., population 7812, based on the 2011 census. Morden Police service consists of: 1 Chief 2 Sergeants 12 Constables 1 Special Constable 0 Auxiliary members 1 Administrative Assistant 1 Police service dog 3 marked and 2 unmarked vehicles. Here are the STATs for:June 9th – June 16th, 2014 Total Calls for Service – 87 Break & Enter (business) – 1 Theft of Motor Vehicle – 1 Theft under $5000.00 – 6 Assault – 2 Other Criminal Code (mischief, arson, indecent acts, harassment) – 8 Controlled Drugs & Substances (possession of marihuana) – 1 By-Laws – 6 Fail to Stop or Remain – 2 Liquor Control Act – 4 Highway Traffic Act Offences (charges & warnings) – 7 Traffic Accidents – 1 Assist General Public (suspicious persons/vehicle, family dispute, fingerprints) – 14 Other Police Activities (alarms, criminal record checks, assist other agencies, Lost / Found Property, K9 assistance, mental health act, 24 hour suspension) – 34 You can go to their website for more STATS. Kentville, according to this article has 6094 residents.

    • Simon
      June 28, 2014 - 23:28

      So what does another province stats have to do with kentville NS. What town had ever given back free grant money from the province. Can you find that stat too? Stats can be very dangerous and numbers can be played with either way

    • Simon
      June 29, 2014 - 00:01

      So kentville police has 13 member 1 insp and 1 chief and also has 3 positions payed by the province and stats are higher the MB. So not really getting your point. And MB had 87 break and enter in a week they best hire more police and what's the clearance rate???

    • Chris
      June 30, 2014 - 20:44

      Simon, calm down. In checking for a community of similar size as a comparison, that's all I could find with a town/city police force. Morden doesn't get "free grant" money to my knowledge. MPI, public insurance uses tax payer funds for traffic enforcement. Stats can be very useful, NOT dangerous as you perceive them to be. And I see no evidence of "numbers being played with" as you believe. If, Kentville's stats are higher than Manitoba, that needs to be addressed. You misread the information for the weekly stats that I gave for Morden. Morden did not have 87 B&E's! That was the calls for service. What is Kentville's numbers for "calls for service?" There was one business B&E. Sometimes, when you write and post these things in the manner intended, they get posted differently, unfortunately.

  • Kaylaa
    June 27, 2014 - 22:32

    This is ridiculous!! The only town in the Valley that actually has a Drug Enforcement team, and they are wanting to get rid of officers?! I don't even live in Kentville anymore, and I am outraged about this! What they need to do is send some RCMP officers to help out Kentville Town Police. I am pretty sure if you told the tax payers in Kentville that their taxes were going up so that they could KEEP their Town Police safe; they would be fine with that, not so they could have free hot dogs, and pop on Canada Day, or 20 minute long fireworks on Apple Blossom! The Town Police are working with what they can already, if they take away more Officers, it will only bring the Department down, not up. I know most of us have had times that we wish they were not there, and been beyond pissed at a Officer in Kentville, but I know I would feel a lot better with keeping the Department the way it is. Not just if my children decide to move to Kentville when they are out of the house, but once it is my Great-great grandchildren moving out and if they decide to live in Kentville, I don't want Kentville to end up like Berwick being a safe place to raise a family, and then no one feeling safe once the Police have moved on!

    • Sooty
      June 30, 2014 - 05:47

      The Town doesn't pay for apple blossom. It's a volunteer not for profit organization. And they haven't had Canada Day for over 3 years. Just sayin.

    • concerned kentvillian
      June 30, 2014 - 19:36

      What !! Kentville does't have Canada Day celebrations anymore ??? Isn't Kentville in Canada ?? If this is true,, it would be very unpatriotic ? If this is true,, Shame on you Kentville Mayor and town council !

  • concerned kentvillian
    June 27, 2014 - 14:08

    Does anyone know if they are having free hot dogs. cake and pop at memorial park on Canada Day this year ??? thanks

    • Bill Boyd
      June 27, 2014 - 15:12

      It won't be free it'll be paid for by our property taxes. Money that should be going to essential services such as our police service and not another photo-op for the Mayor. Happy Canada Day.

  • LJ Valley
    June 27, 2014 - 10:53

    Referencing Moncton in relation to this issue is ridiculous fear mongering. It's a disrespect to the families who lost loved ones during that crisis. And that could happen anywhere. Reducing the police force by one member isn't going to cause a scenario like that. Also, most of you commenting here have no idea what you're talking about. It's 1 officer, not 2. (potentially 2 with Council committed to preventing that) And, judging by the meeting minutes I have read online, it's not a member of the platoon that will go. It's likely going to be a desk position. Kentville will still have 12 officers, 3 on duty 24/7. That won't change. I feel ok about that for a town with 6,000 people in it. It's not Dartmough people jeeze. Settle down, and stop disrespecting people who have been chosen to, and are trying to do their jobs and save the taxpayers money. Hilariously enough, NO ONE ran against council in the last election. So, I guess we trust them to handle business.....

    • Simon
      June 27, 2014 - 13:40

      LJ Valley. It will not be a desk position it will be a street crime position which combat high crime area and drugs which the province pays 100,000 for that position. This grant money was purposely designed to put more officers on the street. Why is the town willing to reduce and throw away 100,000 dollars of grant money and cause overtime. And yes it is a platoon member going!!!

    • ConcernedInKentville
      June 27, 2014 - 13:50

      actually it will be two people. read the article. i've had conversation with a member of the counsel and one will be from front line the other will be from "street crime". there are grumblings that the chief will not be able to run a shift with three members all the time. I can tell you that judging by the numbers, KPS has the second lowest cost compared to total budget % in the province. this is not about money it appears to be personal. Pretty easy to get this information if you ask a couple of questions to them.

    • Macdonald
      June 27, 2014 - 14:13

      LJ Valley, could you direct me to the mins of the meeting because I can't see the June 2014 as it says " soon "so don't know how you read them.

  • Moral Compass
    June 27, 2014 - 10:45

    I'd be interested in seeing the total payroll (including overtime) divided by the number of officers. Then compare it to other towns with a police force just to see how over/under funded our police force is. I think if this budget number was more transparent, we'd be able to make a better informed decision as a ratepayer in this town.

  • Shawn
    June 27, 2014 - 10:08

    Another break in last night....a local small biz in kentville....I have no doubt in my mind that this is drug related...Kentville does have a drug problem and we need the police officers to keep this in check....Kentville police officers keep your kids, family and business safe.....if we lose more of these guys this activity will only rise.......please think this decision through

  • simon
    June 27, 2014 - 01:52

    Congrats town council and Mayor yet another bad decision you have made. Not sure if you have read the paper lately but you have had 4 attempted murders in your town within the last year! The mayor says he has loitering issues in Kentville but yet your laying police off. Council!!!! you have people dieing in your town of pills. You have cut a community officer last year now want to cut two more and be so arrogant to give back $100,000 dollars of grant money provided by the province to combat illegal drugs and other crime in OUR TOWN. The Police Chief informed Council very clear that this would be an ill move on the Town’s part but why listen to the person that runs the force and your advisor.......cause you have your old boys club!!! I have spoken to people in the police community and the Street Crime Unit has seized over 2 MILLION dollars last year in drugs/ cash/ assets in Kings Co, and this is one of the positions that are funded by the province that Council is willing to throw away because Council believes Kentville has to many police officer. CORKUM and Council these actions will show in the next election!!! Also if the town wants to attract new business why is that one of the town’s Councilor has moved his business to New Minas from Kentville?? I am a tax payer Mr Pearl and I can bear money for Kentville Police!!!

  • Marty
    June 26, 2014 - 23:40

    Knowing what these guys have to deal with on a regular day day to day basis is commendable, and after the events unfolding both in Moncton and in Kentville in the last few days surely this warrants more of Police presence not less.Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Purse before public safety? I think NOT.

  • Marty
    June 26, 2014 - 23:39

    Knowing what these guys have to deal with on a regular day day to day basis is commendable, and after the events unfolding both in Moncton and in Kentville in the last few days surely this warrants more of Police presence not less.Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Purse before public safety? I think NOT.

  • Angela
    June 26, 2014 - 22:40

    The decisions that this town council makes are unbelievable. Last year when they cut the first officer it was around the same time that the sign at the park and the rink where replaced ,with the new digital signs. I couldn't help but make the comparison that those signs must have been worth around same amount or more than the officers' salary. Does this make good fiscal sense, not in my book. By the way wasn't Mark Phillips background in recreation? How much does he know about fiance? Does it make any sense to cut two positions, one of which is being paid for by the province? The actions, or the lack there of by the mayor and council are incomprehensible. The only person on this council with a backbone is Nola the rest are a bunch of yes men. I know next time I will speaking loud and clear with my vote.

  • Ginny Merner
    June 26, 2014 - 20:08

    I think this is the most ridiculous decision that could possibly made. If and when this decision is made and someone needs police assistance and they dont respond quickly enough and someone gets hurt or God forbid gets killed it will be no doubt police response time that will be to blame and this is bull crap. Let someone who really cares about the needs of the public make these life saving decisions. What do seat warmers really know about proper policing anyway.

  • Rather Not
    June 26, 2014 - 19:35

    If the RCMP are under-trained, & Kentville police aren't even trained well enough to be RCMP officers, how protected are you really? Get rid of them ALL! That uniform isn't going to save you or you "grandbabies" from a bullet or prescription pill. How about EDUCATING & TRAINING some officers instead of begging to keep the fat lazy aggressive porkchops we have.

    • Macdonald
      June 27, 2014 - 10:37

      Hey Rather Not, not sure what article you read but this has nothing to do with training. Maybe you need the education my friend. By your response I can tell you have a criminal record. Crawl back under the rock you came from

    • ConcernedinKentville
      June 27, 2014 - 10:50

      oh oh.. someone sounds like they have been convicted of drunk driving or beating their wife!! gotta have someone to hate on eh?

    • Lawman
      June 28, 2014 - 21:32

      Hey Rather not.......your an idiot. I'm sure you got a mugshot on the Kentville police system anyways!! Good on ya keep up the good work.

  • Nicole
    June 26, 2014 - 18:50

    Seeing firsthand how hard the Kentville Police work everyday, this decision deeply saddens me. There is no real logic to this decision. One of these positions the town of Kentville is lucky enough to get provincial funding for?? The amount of the officers own time away from their families that is put in now to keep Kentville safe would shock the residents. There is without a doubt no way anyone can "truthfully" say the publics safety will not be affected by these cuts..... Unless it comes from someone who sits in an office all day and has no idea how a police force is run or even care to take the advice from the people who do.

  • Ant
    June 26, 2014 - 18:16

    Let's talk a little about cuts........ First let's cut Mark Phillips pay. ( he hasn't made a good decision since he has become CAO) The Mayor makes way to much money also. If you haven't seen the big houses and cars they drive, the next time you see them take notice! Cutting the police from the town would be just another one of Marks dumb ass decisions. How much of this is the town going to take before they do something about their leadership. Think of the safety of the people first, then the money. Take a cut in your pay Mark and jeep "YOUR TOWN SAFE"

  • Bill Boyd
    June 26, 2014 - 16:35

    And Mayor Corkum was calling for more policing of the downtown core!? Do him and Phillips talk? Up here in the north of the town we haven't seen a let up in crime. Hate to imagine how it'll be with less of Kentville's finest.

  • Sandra Weldon
    June 26, 2014 - 16:01

    I am truly disappointed in the people who have the say in this matter. To think that they would further put out public at risk with this proposed cutback is deplorable! How can we "The Public" have a say in this????

    • Bill Boyd
      June 26, 2014 - 21:22

      Vote out Corkum and his adminstration, that's how!

    • Macdonald
      June 27, 2014 - 10:44

      Bill Boyd your so right. He will pay the price for following Phillips like a lost puppy because he can't stand on his own feet. So will the rest of the old boys club

  • John
    June 26, 2014 - 16:00

    Bean counters...........take them out on patrol to see just what the officers do. They sit in their ivory towers and look at numbers. Go out an confront someone with a knife, go out and help with a nasty traffic accident. Go on call at 2 AM to go to a violent domestic situation. You guys just amaze me. You have a dollrs and cents idea but you have no grasp on reality. Do your citizens want police cuts, I severely doubt it. But you bean counters keep on doingt what you do and just hope and pray that you do not become a victim and end up wondering "Where the h... were the police when we needed them..........oh sorry we dont have any right now.......Come over to the court house and see what is actually going on in your town.

  • gary
    June 26, 2014 - 14:54

    The town would save a lot of money and headaches if they got rid of Phillips.

  • Greg Simpkin
    June 26, 2014 - 14:48

    Do people realize the officer to citizen ratio in Kentville is way higher than the rest of the Valley? Kentville police have it easy compared to the RCMP. The RCMP have to cover way more area with fewer resources. Look at Kentville's brand new police station, expensive brand new cars, new digital speed signs. Maybe they should allocate more money into their officers paychecks than all of this flashy fluff.

  • Jason
    June 26, 2014 - 14:15

    So they are cutting 3 jobs in 2 years. Jobs our taxes pay for but we have no say how many police we have. Also I'm sure the taxes we pay aren't going down in fact they will probably go up.

    • Ginny Merner
      June 26, 2014 - 20:09

      I think this is the most ridiculous decision that could possibly made. If and when this decision is made and someone needs police assistance and they dont respond quickly enough and someone gets hurt or God forbid gets killed it will be no doubt police response time that will be to blame and this is bull crap. Let someone who really cares about the needs of the public make these life saving decisions. What do seat warmers really know about proper policing anyway.

  • GerryD
    June 26, 2014 - 14:10

    We need a well-staffed police department. This is money well spent. Please don't lay any of them off. Please.

  • Koren butler
    June 26, 2014 - 13:23

    Kentville is going down hill with all the illegal drugs and the kids with prescription drugs and all the mixing if it Kentville has lost too many of our children due to all the illegal activity with drugs Kentville can not lose our police one cut is too much there has to be something that can be done I have grandbabies and my fear is they will fall through this way of life so pleeeeeeeease keep our policemen serving our community WE NEED ALL OF THEM !!!!!