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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Debate Over Municipal Police Vs. RCMP Continues At Police Commission

As Saint John examines the cost of its municipal police force versus the RCMP, all eyes are on what other communities in the Maritimes have been paying for their policing--and whether a move to the RCMP would make sense from either a fiscal or law-and- order perspective .

Newly-minted Police Commission Chair Jonathan Franklin tells CHSJ News he's already crunched the numbers, and Moncton is paying more for so-called "drive-through" RCMP service. Franklin acknowledges a report prepared by a member of the Police Commission might seem self-serving, but denies he would ever skew data in favour of the SJPD.

Mayor Mel Norton tells CHSJ News it's not enough to extrapolate the numbers from Moncton--instead, he says, we need a Saint John specific report. Further, Norton says the Moncton report was the farthest thing from his mind during the vote because to him to be appeared unrelated to the questions council was asking.

This controversy over the report comes after a member of a popular Facebook group in support of the SJPD posted a letter he wrote to the mayor and council. He charged the Mayor with withholding information, writing "I find it extremely interesting that the Mayor, who broke the deadlock, voted to pursue this request, as a member of the Police Commission, is well aware of this study, but chooses to go down the road of spending our tax dollars to prepare, receive and evaluate another quote, because he doesn't like the results of the original study."

The Mayor says he has made no effort to withhold the results of the Moncton report, and fails to understand why there's so much resistance to asking questions about the cost.