N.S. county where mass shooting occurred to seek proposals for policing alternatives
December 17, 2022 By The Canadian Press
Dec. 17, 2022, Amherst, N.S. – One of the Nova Scotia counties where the mass shooting took place in 2020 is planning to seek proposals for local policing, including alternatives to the RCMP.
The Municipality of Cumberland County approved seeking requests for proposals last Wednesday, and says in a news release it’s the result of public consultations in communities around the county.
Mayor Murray Scott, a former Nova Scotia justice minister, has said in earlier interviews with The Canadian Press that he’s concerned about the rising costs associated with the Mounties and is worried full staffing isn’t always available due to illness, vacations and various forms of leave.
Scott says in the release council anticipates the RCMP will provide a proposal for local police services, and it’s also possible municipal police services operating in the area will make proposals.
The RCMP faced numerous criticisms of its handling of the mass shootings of April 18-19, 2020, when 22 people were killed by a gunman driving a replica police vehicle that passed through a portion of Cumberland County on the second day of the rampage.
A public inquiry has heard the Mounties didn’t have protocols in place at the time to issue public emergency alerts, officers couldn’t be tracked when outside of their vehicles, and two out of six of the first responders weren’t available on the first night of the killings.
Assistant Commissioner Dennis Daley, the new commander of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, recently told The Canadian Press he believes the public still want to keep the RCMP as their provincial police force, and improvements are being made in equipping and training officers.
But he said it’s a challenge to ensure full staff complements, as it’s become difficult to recruit new officers in a tight labour market.
“Like everybody else, we have absences … but we have the ability to pull people from different areas when required,” he said.
Nova Scotia’s contract with the RCMP runs until 2032, and there are regular reviews that are built into an agreement that sees municipalities pay for 70 per cent of RCMP services while the federal government covers 30 per cent.
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