PEI

Island businessman says Stratford, P.E.I., needs more police

Stratford, P.E.I., currently has a contract with the RCMP with six officers assigned to the town. Town officials said those officers work a variety of shifts, but wouldn't all be on at the same time.

'We're talking about the safety of the community here'

Businessman and Stratford resident Ray Murphy says he hopes municipalities can come together to improve policing. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Businessman Ray Murphy says the community of Stratford, P.E.I., is under-policed. Murphy, founder of Murphy's pharmacies and a resident of Stratford, recently wrote an opinion piece in the local paper and has contacted municipal governments to voice his concerns. 

"We're talking about the safety of the community here," Murphy said. "It's very important that we have the proper protection." 

Stratford currently has a contract with the RCMP with six officers assigned to the town. Town officials said those officers work a variety of shifts, but wouldn't all be on at the same time.

The town pays a little more than $1 million a year for the service as well as other associated costs. 

Murphy said Stratford is a large area to cover and would benefit from having more officers on duty.

Mayor Steve Ogden says council will soon be entering budget discussions and is expected to look at the idea of a police review. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Murphy would like to see a capital region police force to serve Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall. 

Police review possible

Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden said council plans to discuss the issue and possibly — with approval from council — commission a police review by outside consultants. 

"We are looking at doing a policing review as part of the budget process," Ogden said. 

Ogden said council wants to make evidence-based decisions and a review would help with that. 

"We haven't done a policing review since 2003 in Stratford, it's been quite a long time," he said. 

Mayor Steve Ogden says recent surveys have found Stratford residents are satisfied with police services. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Ogden said Stratford's growing population is expected to be close to 15,000 in a few years and that growth is one reason why policing should be looked at. 

However, Ogden said recent town surveys indicate residents are satisfied with the current police service.

Murphy said it's important for the communities of Stratford and Cornwall to have proper protection. He said he believes the two communities don't have the same level of policing as Charlottetown. 

Murphy has businesses in all three communities and said he hopes the three municipalities can come together. 

'About regional co-operation'

A new emergency services centre is expected to open in Stratford in January 2020. The mayor said that should help improve policing. 

RCMP are currently travelling from the Maypoint detachment in Charlottetown, and prior to that used a small satellite building that wasn't open to the public. 

"We'll be gaining two hours per officer per shift," Ogden said. "They'll be able to start their shifts here and end their shifts here." 

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown said the city meets on a quarterly basis with the communities of Stratford and Cornwall. 

A new emergency services building located just off the highway in Stratford is almost complete. Ambulance, police and fire services will be based out of the building. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Brown said he likes the idea of the three municipalities working together, but that any changes to policing are just at the discussion level now. 

"Police services come up as something to discuss now and into the future," Brown said. "This is all about regional co-operation."

A representative with Cornwall said the town is happy with its current RCMP contract, and changing it has not been discussed. 

More P.E.I. news

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Meader is a video journalist for CBC P.E.I.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now