There are policing alternatives for communities in the Corner Brook area, outside the two major forces.
David Young has a community policing operation based in Corner Brook that he has made available in recent years. His services have been utilized in municipalities in the area in the past few years — primarily the Town of Benoit’s Cove — but interest has been growing throughout the region.
Community policing has been on the radar of municipalities for quite some time and has frequented the Great Humber Joint Council agenda. At the council’s request, Young, and fellow officer Scott Stewart, attended its monthly meeting Saturday in Irishtown-Summerside.
“We do the same things as the RCMP and RNC (Royal Newfoundland Constabulary) — jurisdictional patrols and we have the power of arrest — we can hand out legal papers that you guys have to send out to houses, enforce the rules and regulations of towns,” Young said.
The officer said they work closely with the RCMP and expects that will continue.
“We don’t do it alone,” he said. “If we are on patrol and we require the assistance of the RCMP they will come in.
“The only problem with the RCMP is after 4:30 p.m. in the Corner Brook district, the office is closed.”
He said officers on shift or call after hours, if there is an emergency are then tied up on that call.
“The big thing about the RCMP is they are understaffed and have been for years,” Young said. “We can help in areas and times which they can’t.”
The operation currently has five officers and two vehicles. He provided a breakdown on what he can provide to a municipality for $800 per town per month — a fee that he said can be negotiated based on the type and number of patrols.
They can patrol such things as noise complaints, domestic disturbances, drinking and driving, public drinking, community events, crowd control, all-terrain vehicle regulations, speeding and reckless driving and parking complaints.
Not everybody around the council table was sold on the concept. Mount Moriah Coun. Ronald Murley is concerned about towns moving in this direction and the impact it would have on existing police forces.
“We are short of policemen now, next year there would be another five or six policemen laid off because you fellows are on the scene,” he said. “The towns would be paying for it themselves.
“I think nobody should hire you. I think we should lobby government for more policemen.”
Coun. Todd Warren of Irishtown-Summerside scoffed at that idea, saying it would be pointless to lobby government for more police resources.
“They still wouldn’t cover what a large portion of what this company could provide, if they are able to negotiate a cost-effective contract with the individual municipalities,” he said.
Massey Drive Coun. Holly Walsh also said the community police officers fill a void that police forces cannot. She said they would be an asset to municipalities in the enforcement of their regulations and legislation.
“Our regulations are only good if they are enforced,” she said.