Expanded RCMP service in Stratford has been delayed while the P.E.I. town answers questions about the police service, including whether to continue using the RCMP at all.
Currently the six-member team works out of the Crossroads fire station. Stratford Town Council budgeted about $50 thousand this year to expand the service with a civilian employee. That person would deal with the public in a store-front setting, answering phones and taking complaints.
But the money still hasn't been spent, partly because council and police are trying to figure out where the office should go.
"The RCMP also are looking at their overall plan here in the greater Charlottetown," said Coun. Emile Gallant, chair of the town's police committee.
"There are still a few studies being done internally to see what the best options are for the future of our detachment."
The RCMP office in Stratford would need a lot of work to turn it into a full-fledged detachment. It isn't open to the public, and would need a major retrofit to bring it up to a security standard acceptable by the national police force.
RCMP or municipal force?
Finance chair Coun. Patrick Ross said the need for major upgrades raises additional questions about whether it is a good idea to spend that money now. The contract with the RCMP is up in two years, and he questions spending any more money on the service until the town knows whether the RCMP contract will be renewed.
"We have to be careful on what we spend with the RCMP," said Ross.
"You don't want to run out and spend money that isn't going to be used in a couple of years. We may have a different arrangement in two years. Who knows?"
Ross said if he's re-elected in November, he wants a bigger discussion on whether the town is best served by the RCMP, or by creating a municipal force.