Police board passes budget with 1.49% increase

Cornwall Police Chief Dan Parkinson explains a section of his departmental budget to the Cornwall Community Police Service Board on Jan 27, 2015. The force is looking at a budget increase of 1.49 per cent. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The Cornwall police budget has cleared its first hurdle which includes an overall increase of 1.49 per cent.

The Cornwall Community Police Services Board gave the nearly $18 million budget its stamp of approval Tuesday afternoon.

With nearly 92 per cent of the budget ($16.6 million) comprised of contractual obligations for salaries and benefits, Chief Dan Parkinson addressed the biggest cost – staffing levels – and whether those could be cut.

Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy questioned whether 87 uniformed officers was the “optimum” level.

Parkinson said, yes it was, in order to “provide adequate and effective police service” to the City of Cornwall as mandated by provincial law.

The force also has 10 special constables and 34 civilian members.

The chief cautioned the board, if staffing levels were decreased and the police service could not maintain “adequate” and “effective” policing, the police board and the municipality could be sued.

Looking at youth crime stats over a ten year period (2004-2013) violent crimes are down 56 per cent, property crimes are down 62 per cent, drug offences are down 48 per cent and other crime are down 26 per cent.

“These numbers don’t happen by accident. It’s due to sound resources and sound strategy,” the chief said.

The force’s strategy rests on three pillars – community engagement, crime reduction and organizational excellence.

Parkinson’s budget presentation also included nearly 50 pages of legal documentation, outlining the province’s directives to Cornwall through the Police Services Act on what the municipal force is obligated to supply.

The police budget will now go to the budget steering committee for approval and then to the full council for final approval.

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