Hands tied on police budget? Some councillors think so

Cornwall Deputy Police Chief Danny Aikman, left, and Chief Dan Parkinson during a police board meeting on Jan. 28, 2015. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Cornwall’s police chief found himself peppered with questions about whether the police budget, which is looking at a 1.49 per cent increase, was finalized before it hit the budget committee table.

Dan Parkinson shared his nearly $18 million dollar budget to the committee Friday morning, which is adding nearly a quarter million dollars.

Under provincial legislation, the police services has to give “adequate” and “effective” service or the municipality and police board could face a lawsuit.

“Why are we having this discussion? This makes it sounds like this is finished. Basically it sounds like we don’t have a choice,” Coun. David Murphy said.

“My hands feel tied in this,” he added.

Coun. Andre Rivette, who is the chairman of the police board, defended the budget saying it’s a very good budget but it’s not a “fait accompli.”

Coun. Brock Frost also challenged the police chief about the terms “adequate” and “effective” saying they are very subjective terms.

If council were to reject the police budget, it would go to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Policing Services for review.

“I don’t think people feel threatened here, I think they feel powerless,” Coun. Elaine MacDonald said, noting the budget has made some cuts to come in with a 1.49 per cent increase.

Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy suggested the budget could be sent back to the police board for further review but no motion was put forward to take that sort of action.

The Cornwall Community Police Services has 87 uniform and 45 civilian officers.

The budget meeting continues for most of the day Friday.

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