Cornwall Ontario – With talks of a 6% tax increase coming, chiefly because of a lack of infrastructure reserves, and plummeting property values, one area of cash to dialog on is our police budget which roughly stands at about $18M per year for a city of about 40,000 people.
Putting that into context, Toronto spends about $401 per person on policing. Cornwall, a whopping and incredible $397!!!!
Ottawa spends $391, Kingston $277, and the OPP in SD&G, where our police chief and many of his staff Sgts live, only $158!
This newspaper has been in a struggle to get basic information from the CCPS when it comes to real numbers.
For example, the Kingston Police Service does an amazing job communicating to the public. They put out a weekday police blotter that should be the best practice for all police forces.
The CCPS refuses to offer anything close to this information. They release a few items, sometimes going as many as six days without reporting any crime. They also don’t get timely information out to the public when it comes to machine guns being stolen or stores being broken into for some reason compared to other forces.
Going by the numbers they provide they clearly do not need a budget of this nature. Viewing how they respond to incidents there usually is double or triple the amount of resources used for an incident.
Likewise, they are refusing to answer, after repeated requests, about events like the one that occurred recently where at least three police vehicles and several officers were doing a pr fill the truck for a local food bank.
The question was simple. We’re these officers on duty? In other words, were taxpayers paying for a PR stunt for the force? All the officers were in uniform and of course using police vehicles. How much did this stunt cost taxpayers? An early estimate was for more than the value of food collected by four times or nearly $6,000.00!
When queried the CCPS media officer referred it to SSGT Brian Snyder. Emails to both Snyder and the Chief went unanswered.
A retired local service person laughed when I raised this question with them pointing out the fire and police rarely would ever donate their own time for events like this.
Most of the charges on the police blotter in Cornwall are not serious. Cornwall doesn’t have the crime problems, thankfully of other cities, mostly because it has a graying population of more seniors as tragically more of our young people leave. Seniors rarely lead to more crime, and certainly not of as violent a nature as what Kingston, Toronto, or Ottawa would see. It also leads to more flimsy charges being rung up in Cornwall such as people being charged for throwing grass clippings or students shaking a fist at a teacher.
Cutting the CCPS budget by half the difference of the SD&G OPP budget per person would be about $5 million dollars per year.
That cash would go a long way towards paving streets and repairing water mains with some extra towards improving the downtown core.
Frankly the CCPS needs a thorough outside investigation and a new management team. With Chief Parkinson retiring after his last shady contract it might be time to bring in some fresh blood as our Deputy Chief, Danny Aikman, seems to be a part of what ails the culture at the police HQ. It might even be time to have a real open dialog about having the OPP takeover policing for Cornwall as flawed as they themselves may be at times.
Either way the free ride should end this next election for Police and Fire services who may think that the city has an endless pile of cash. We don’t.
Those that pay have a right to know how their money is being spent, something that the CCPS clearly are refusing to do at this time.