“No fat” in police budget, says Aikman

Nick Seebruch
“No fat” in police budget, says Aikman
Overpass bridge under construction at Brookdale Ave. during the summer. (Nick Seebruch/Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – In a presentation to the Budget Steering Committee on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, Deputy Chief and future Chief of the Cornwall Community Police Service Danny Aikman said "I can assure the public and assure the board that there is no fat in our budget."

According to Aikman’s report, the CCPS currently comprises 87 sworn police officers and 43 civilian employees, eight of whom are special constables who provide court security.

Aikman presented an Operating Budget for CCPS for 2018 of a little over $20 million, with revenue that comes out to $18.7 million net, which is a 1.56 percent increase over 2017.

The Deputy Chief also presented what the CCPS has achieved in recent years. His presentation described how Violent Crime and Property Crime rates fell by 27.5 and 62.7 percent respectively from 2012 to 2016. Other crimes, excluding drug violations fell 32.4 percent. Drug violations have remained steady at about 20 per year.

In general Aikman reported to the committee that 2016 saw break & enter, thefts, bail violations, disturb the peace crimes and robbery go down, while rates of drug crimes slightly increased and so did assaults, harassments, threats, mischief and fraud. The past 10 years have also seen a jump in mental health crisis calls of 255 percent.

The CCPS budget is passed by the Police Board with Council review.

Aikman also fielded questions about whether replacing CCPS with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would be cheaper, which is a question some councillors said they hear a lot.

“The OPP is a fine police organization,” Aikman explained. “They would come in here and look at what the City of Cornwall needs and what the OPP could offer you.”

He told Council, that there would be costs to switching to the OPP right off the bat.

“One of the primary factors in the Brockville costing process was that the OPP deemed the Brockville police staion inadequate to their needs and I guarantee that would be the case here, the Justince Building is not a modern police station, I’ll grant you that,” he said.

Aikman also stated that the CCPS runs preventative programs, like their youth outreach program, which the OPP would charge the municipality extra to run.

“Don’t know what those costs would be, but I guess it would get very close to our current costs,” said Aikman.

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