Light Turnout for Oxford Police Review
Residents of Oxford had an opportunity to voice their concerns regarding community policing at a public meeting held in the town tonight.
Only about 30 people turned out to hear about the progress made so far on a review of policing services provided by the RCMP.
The town began the review earlier this year, looking for ways to reduce the amount paid by taxpayers for RCMP services, which currently runs a half-million dollars per year. On a per-capita basis, that's more than similar-sized communities across the province, and represents 20 percent of the town's annual budget.
Comments from those attending were positive regarding police services provided by the RCMP, with most people saying they would like to see —more— police presence in town.
One resident recounted two experiences where calling police to report alarms at different businesses in town did not go as expected. Ruben Mallard says he was asked to check the alarms himself, rather than 'wake someone up' for a false alarm.
Deputy Fire Chief Ken Hickman, who says he's worked closely with law enforcement, says the current police services are spread too thin over too large an area.
Another member of the public —who works as a first responder— said police should offer more programs to schools and the community, particularly in dealing with human trafficking. They said people don't have sufficient awareness of the issues faced by town residents.
Deputy Mayor Rick Draper, who hosted the event, was asked by a resident whether Town Council had asked Amherst police for a proposal to contract their services. Draper stated that no decision has been taken.
He said Oxford is still reviewing what the community needs and hasn't come to the point of even asking for proposals for service.
The Police Services Review Committee will meet again on December 3rd to nail down the town's policing needs. If the town decides to look for an alternative to the current arrangement with the RCMP, a request for proposals would be issued in January.
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