“Not bad for only one-and-a-half or so days,” said organizer Alex Pudsey. “There are lots of good responses left on the Facebook page and the petition page by people from all walks of life. RCMP members, KPD members, business and land owners, and local townspeople.”
Town council’s budget decisions are expected to reduce the police force by one officer. A second, provincially-funded officer is also scheduled to depart, according to union spokesman Const. Kevin Pick, leaving 14 officers. This is the second year in a row that cuts have led to an officer reduction.
Pudsey, who lives in North Alton, said the cuts almost feel personal. He got involved because the whole situation made zero sense to him as a father and greater community member.
According to Pudsey, he and his wife are in Kentville with their four-year-daughter old often.
“(We) frequently make use of the facilities such as parks and playgrounds. Being safe for her is priority number one both now and as she gets older.
“I have many friends and family in town, so their wellbeing is of concern,” he added. “I've been on a few ride-alongs with KPD members, and I've seen firsthand some of the people and situations they deal with. Perhaps council should do the same to get an appreciation for the work the members are doing.
Pudsey says he casually knows some of the Kentville officers. He said he believes “reducing their numbers is a safety concern for them while they are working. Moncton is the obvious reminder of how dangerous their jobs can be, not to mention the serious crimes that have been happening locally lately (stabbings).”
Reducing numbers, he said, will “cost the department their $100K grant from the province, money, which is used to fund a street crimes position. A position which, judging from the amount of times Chief Mander has been on radio/in the press over the last year or so, has been quite effective.”
Pudsey has some family connection to law enforcement. In addition to a cousin in the RCMP, his father was a long-time commissionaire at Acadia University. Lawrence Pudsey directed traffic daily on Main Street.