Moncton City Council has voted unanimously to hire an expert to review policing services, and the future of Codiac RCMP.
The motion was brought forward by Coun. Daniel Bourgeois at last month’s meeting. His motion originally called for council to hire the expert to update a 2010 study, but also pause construction of a new Codiac RCMP headquarters in the meantime. Council is in the process of approving the construction of a roughly $57-million police station.
However, the motion councillors voted for on Monday evening was amended to remove the portion dealing with the headquarters.
The Mounties replaced the local police force in the late 1990s, and there has been debate since then about reverting back.
“The salary is going significantly higher than what we had anticipated, so let’s pause, think and then make a decision,” said Bourgeois.
The motion also noted that a parliamentary committee recently recommended the force end its municipal and provincial policing contracts, and the Union of New Brunswick Municipalities is calling for a review of policing services.
“I certainly look forward to that conversation and developing something for the future,” said Deputy Mayor Charles Léger during Monday’s council meeting.
“It’s timely. We did it 10 years ago, we could do it again and having the opportunity to prepare ourselves for what the next phase of this could look like.”
Léger added the study could look at using a different term other than “policing,” the community aspects of providing services and mental health support for officers.
The Codiac RCMP is in contract with the city until 2032. Léger said the city can make a change without penalty, so long as there is two years’ notice.
Some councillors suggested the municipalities of Riverview and Dieppe should be consulted about possibly splitting the cost of the review.
Others said municipal and federal counterparts should be consulted, to see what role they play.
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The city manager said the terms of reference for the study will be brought back to council in the future.
Expert believes RCMP getting out of municipal policing
At least one public safety and policing expert believes the RCMP are getting out of municipal policing.
“The model with which we provide police services in this country in general and in the Maritimes in particular is increasingly not servicing local needs, interests, values and priorities,” said Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College.
He added he thinks the Atlantic provinces should pool resources and develop a Maritime police force with municipal detachments.
“What that municipality spends on policing is actually only the operational part of policing and the provinces essentially assume the broader administrative costs,” he explained.
— with a file from Shelley Steeves