In anticipation of a $1.25-million cut in the city’s budget, the union representing Saint John Police have detailed major changes planned for the new year.
Const. Duane Squires, president of the force’s union, said on Friday that three special units will end effective Jan. 1, 2018.
“The cuts that have been announced to us are the constables in our Community Response Unit, our Traffic Unit and our Street Crime Unit,” said Squires.
Squires says the officers assigned to those units won’t lose their jobs but that they would return to patrol services in an effort to save on overtime.
Community policing has been a part of Saint John for decades.
Juanita Black has lived in the Crescent Valley area of the city’s north end for 38 years, long before community policing arrived.
Black points to the hundreds of fewer police calls to the area over the years since community policing has been present.
“Just the number that it was reduced by just having a community police officer here is amazing,” said Black.
“They do a job. You know they’re not nine to five type people. They work weekends they work Saturdays, they come to community events, they offer safety tips.”
WATCH: Saint John police, fire say budget cuts would affect service
There’s a daily presence at the nearby Crescent Valley Resource Centre, where the female officer had made a big difference especially with Syrian families who come from an environment where police were to be avoided.
“Here they have a woman in this neighbourhood in a position of authority who’s dealing equitably with children and adults of any culture,” said Resource Centre Executive Director Anne Driscoll.
Councillor Gerry Lowe has three priority neighbourhoods in his ward and sees the work that goes on.