25 more Codiac RCMP officers, 18 support staff could cost more than $10M

·3 min read
The Codiac Regional Policing Authority is looking to add more than two dozen Codiac RCMP officers to police Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview, though the plan requires budget approval by the communities. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)
The Codiac Regional Policing Authority is looking to add more than two dozen Codiac RCMP officers to police Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview, though the plan requires budget approval by the communities. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)

Twenty five more Codiac Regional RCMP officers and 18 support staff could cost more than $10 million annually, a steep price that has an oversight board looking at spreading the hiring out over several years.

The recommendation to add staff was adopted into the Codiac Regional Policing Authority's plans in a unanimous vote without any public debate by its board members.

Implementing the hiring still requires approval by councils in Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview.

No costs were given during the meeting, which ended early after the board chair called for security because an advocate for defunding police spoke longer than the five minutes allowed for public speeches.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

Don Moore, the board chair, offered the figure to reporters after the meeting.

"Our desire is that we get full implementation of these resources for 2023," Moore told reporters.

"However, we've been asked by the three municipalities if we could lessen the financial pain to the three municipalities by having either a three or five year plan."

The recommendation followed consultations with 80 groups or individuals that began last year, concluding more officers were needed to address concerns about police visibility and public safety in the region.

The recommendation, presented behind closed doors to councils last month, would significantly increase the existing 147-member force. The plan called for 10 more members of a community policing unit that already has six officers, 10 officers to revive the area's disbanded traffic unit, and five focused on drug and property crimes.

The 18 civilian staff would be on top of 79 existing positions that include administrative staff and employees at the operational communications centre taking calls from the public and talking to officers.

The plan's estimated cost would represent a 25 per cent increase over the 2022 budget of $39 million. That budget is paid for by the three communities. Moore said public presentations to councils in those communities are expected in October.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

Courtney Pyrke of Saint John says it doesn't make sense to be spending more money on police instead of other services.

Pyrke in an interview said they are concerned that if Moncton adds officers, the same could happen in Saint John and elsewhere in the province.

Pyrke's speech to the board was cut off after going over a five minute time limit, one of several speakers critical of policing services or plans to put officers in the region's six high schools that were cut off or told to leave the meeting.

Saly Davis was told to leave after saying a board member's question about integration of immigrants was racist. Davis walked out calling Moore a "white supremacist."

Moore asked a commissionaire to intervene when Hafsah Mohammad went over the time and said she'd be prohibited from speaking at future meetings.

Pyrke said people felt ignored.

"I think that the reason why perhaps it got a little bit hostile is that it's a topic that a lot of people really care about and they don't feel like they're being heard," Pyrke told reporters.

"For me personally, I'm from Saint John, so maybe my voice isn't necessarily that important in Moncton, but the folks who are here who are from Moncton, they felt as though that they're not being heard."

Moore later told reporters that he was following the board's meeting procedures that include time limits for public comments and it wasn't personal.

He said during consultations that led to the recommendation for more officers, none of the groups had advocated for reduced spending on police.