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Shelburne town council to hear from Bridgewater police on alternate policing proposal

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Agenda item at Jan. 8 special town council meeting

Shelburne, N.S. – A proposal from the Town of Bridgewater to provide dedicated policing services to the Town of Shelburne will be on the agenda at special Shelburne Town Council meeting on Jan. 8.

Shelburne Town Council made a resolution to write the Town of Bridgewater in late 2016, “inviting them to provide us with a proposal,” said Shelburne CAO Dylan Heide.

“The proposal would see the existing Royal Canadian Mounted Police service, which is shared with the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, replaced with a dedicated police service for the town under the proven Bridgewater Police Service,” states a press release. “The proposal is developed with two outcomes in mind: greater police presence and enforcement in the Town of Shelburne and improved long-term financial sustainability of policing services.”

Under the proposal, the Town of Bridgewater would hire an additional 4.5 constables (one position being shared to handle vacations and other leave), supplying two shifts of two constables per day.

“The terms of the proposal would provide staffing to ensure dedicated coverage 18 hours per day, with local after-hours response and availability,” reads a release issued Jan. 3.

The Town of Shelburne would supply a new facility and vehicles.

Currently, it costs the Town of Shelburne more than $700,000 for policing services. Heide said $736,970 is pegged for policing services including telecom and administration services in the Town’s current budget.

“It is the largest single item in our budget,” he said.

Costing and other details of the proposal will be brought forward at the Jan. 8 meeting, which is open to the public.

“The members of Shelburne Town Council and I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the Town of Bridgewater and examine an alternative policing services proposal for the Town of Shelburne,” said Mayor Karen Mattatall. “Staff and council will continue doing their due diligence as we analyze the proposal to ensure the best outcome for Town residents.”

It is expected that a public meeting and further deliberation by Shelburne Town Council will happen by the end of February 2018.

The Town of Shelburne would be required to give two years notice to the RCMP should it decide to change police contracts. If a new contract is signed with the Town of Bridgewater, the change in service could take effect as early as the spring of 2020.

The Bridgewater Police Service, now in its 118th year of operation, is made up of 24 officers, five auxiliary constables and 10 civilian members, according to its website.

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