Nova Scotia

Halifax police looking to hire more sergeants to help with complaints, lock-up supervision

The chief of Halifax Regional Police wants to hire two new staff sergeants and six sergeants to help deal with a number of sensitive issues within the police department.

New hires would help with criminal investigations unit, professional standards unit

Dan Kinsella is shown at his swearing-in as Halifax Regional Police chief on July 5, 2019. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

The chief of Halifax Regional Police wants to hire two new staff sergeants and six sergeants to help deal with a number of sensitive issues within the police department.

Chief Dan Kinsella told a meeting of the police commission on Monday that the request would add $700,000 to the $89-million budget, which would be an increase of just under one per cent.

One staff sergeant would be assigned to the criminal investigative unit.

"The investigations they have in that area, particularly sexual assault and homicide are complex and involve our most vulnerable victims," Kinsella said.

Handling complaints against police

The other staff sergeant, along with two of the sergeants, would be assigned to the professional standards unit, which handles police complaints.

Halifax police are investigating 106 complaints made by members of the public in 2019.

Kinsella launched an internal review in September of how police complaints are handled after a Dartmouth woman complained about the investigation of her 2018 rape case.

Kinsella believes the extra officers will speed up the complaint process.

"We will get them done in a more timely manner, hopefully bringing some satisfaction and closure to members of the public that are complaining," said Kinsella.

The four other sergeants would be used to provide around the clock supervision at the Halifax lock-up.

Help for lock-up

Two special constables were convicted of criminal negligence causing death in November in connection with the death of a man in 2016.

"What is the status of individuals brought in? Do they have any injuries? Should they be there or should they go for medical treatment?" said Kinsella. "A supervisor would greatly help to make some of those decisions."

The police commission will get more budget details and discuss the request for additional officers at a special meeting on Jan. 9, 2020.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca