Saint John pushes regional police force
Regional police idea will be raised with the Fundy Regional Service Commission next week
Saint John council has thrown its support behind a plan to work with nearby communities and create a regional police force.
The regional police force motion was a last-minute addition to Monday night’s council agenda and it received unanimous support.
Saint John Mayor Mel Norton will push the idea of a single police force to the top of agenda when the Fundy Regional Service Commission meets next week to set its priorities.
Coun. Greg Norton put the motion for a regional police force forward at the council meeting on Monday. Both he and the mayor sit on Saint John's Board of Police Commissioners.
"The thrust certainly is to save money," the councillor said.
Norton said police costs are on the rise as crime rates fall.
And he said he believes places like Rothesay, Quispamsis, Grand Bay-Westfield and Saint John need to co-operate when it comes to policing services.
"Whether it's within management, whether it's within chiefs, whether it's within investigative units, special units, tactical units, there is a lot of duplication," he said.
"We really need to do some work at looking at where we can shave some of that off."
Saint John Police Chief Bill Reid, who was at council for the vote, said a regional force won't change the day-to-day work of officers.
"There are economies of scale for sure, but at the end of the day that's a political decision," Reid said.
Saint John has its own police force, while the Rothesay Regional Police Force covers Rothesay and Quispamsis. Grand Bay-Westfield has contracted its policing service from the RCMP since 1998.