Both Corner Brook and Deer Lake are open to exploring the possibility of assisting other communities with municipal policing issues.
But Mayor Charles Pender and Mayor Dean Ball say there is a lot to consider in doing so.
In Monday’s Western Star it was reported that the Great Humber Joint Council was canvassing member communities to find out what their community policing needs are. The plan is to then take those needs to Corner Brook and Deer Lake to see if they can help.
While it was referred to as regional policing in the story, it does not cover or would not be meant to replace services provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
Instead, it would look at a regional approach to community policing and address such things as illegal parking, illegal dumping of snow and trail and playground monitoring.
“It’s like anything else, we’re always willing to help out our neighbours, but we expect them to cover the cost,” said Pender.
The city has three municipal officers who respond to all kinds of issues.
“With changes to legislation over the last number of years there’s more and more property violations that they’re looking after,” said Pender. “We can ticket people now for not keeping their property up, which has become an issue for us, and for all municipalities, I suppose.”
Pender said if there is a formal request then the city will evaluate it.
“It’s all going to come down to what those communities are looking for, the amount of effort they would be looking for and then, obviously, their willingnesss to pay the costs.”
Pender said it’s not just the hourly cost of the employee, but also administrative, training, supplies, legal and court costs.
Meanwhile, Ball believes taking a regional approach to sharing more municipal services is coming, but there are a lot of things that have to happen first on a provincial level.
In the case of municipal policing, he said “it’s not going to be as simple as opening up a ticket book and writing a ticket.”
He said fine amounts would have to be set and the question of whether or not a court would recognize a ticket would have to be addressed.
Still Ball said “we’d be more than open to talk to anybody. Basically it’s a win win for everybody.”
Like Pender, Ball said communities would be expected to cover the cost of service.
Ball said the idea of community policing is something that is on the radar of the Urban Municipalities Committee of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL).
The committee is meeting in Deer Lake later this week ahead of MNL’s Western Regional meeting there.