CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall Police Service (CPS) Chief Danny Aikman presented his service’s budget for 2021 to the Police Board on Thursday, Nov. 5.
Chief Aikman told the Board that he was budgeting for a 2.34 per cent increase to the CPS budget from the year before.
Part of the reason for the increase was due to a loss of revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPS generates revenue through things like completing background checks which some businesses and government agencies require before hiring. Aikman explained that revenue from these sources was down by around $90,000 from the previous year and had that deficit not existed, he would be asking for an approximate increase of 1.84 per cent instead of 2.34.
The biggest ticket item in Chief Aikmans’ 2021 budget is salaries and benefits, which makes up $19,093,255 of the $20,212,066 budget total. Salaries and benefits represent 88 per cent of the CPS budget, with the next largest item, the purchase of goods coming in at four per cent at $966,188.
The CPS currently has 93 full-time officers, 11 special constables, 38 full-time civilian staff members, and 17 part-time civilian staff members.
Chief Aikman explained to the Board that his 2021 budget was built around three strategic priorities, Crime Reduction, Community Engagement, and Operational Excellence.
For Crime Reduction, Aikman pointed to drug trafficking as an area where the CPS was focusing its effort with success.
In 2019 CPS seized over $249,500 in drugs and contraband and laid over 200 charges.
“This is an ongoing and emerging issue in Cornwall. We have had instances where these opioids have resulted in overdoses in the City of Cornwall,” he said. “In May 2020 alone we seized over $40,000 in drugs and money and I think our statistics in 2020 will exceed those in 2019.”
For Community Engagement, he cited the completion of the Community Safety Plan that the municipality was required to complete by the province of Ontario. Additionally, he pointed to several other community programs that the CPS was currently engaged in such as their diversity, equity, and inclusivity initiative that was launched this summer.
Chief Aikman explained to the Board, that in terms of Operational Excellence, that the CPS was continuing to operate at a high level.
“It is my belief that the Cornwall Police Service is able to punch way above its weight. I think that is thanks to our pursuit of operational excellence,” he said.
Aikman pointed to CPS once again achieving Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation in 2020 as a part of this operational success.
Aikman also took the Board through a few of the CPS’ expenses for 2021, which include the planned purchase of three new vehicles.
CPS typically retires a vehicle after three years of service, or after it has passed 150,000km. The CPS typically replaces a quarter of their fleet every year.
These new vehicles will be hybrid electric vehicles, meaning that they will be $10,000 more expensive than their gas only counterparts, but that they will use 50 per cent less gas over their lifetimes.
The CPS Board passed the 2021 budget unanimously.