New Brunswick village wants province to review policing service
Published Wednesday, October 9, 2019 9:00PM ADT
McADAM, N.B. -- The mayor of McAdam, N.B. says village residents are frustrated with what they call a lack of effective policing.
The village of about 1,200 is known for its historic train station and nature trails. But during the last year, residents have noticed an increase in the number of property thefts in the area.
Local business owner Don Doherty says he had a chainsaw stolen from his warehouse.
“The chainsaw that was stolen was not stolen by a customer,” he said. “It was stolen by one of the known local criminals who, again, just get a slap on the wrist. We can’t prove it. And you get very little action from the police.”
And while people are reporting the crimes, Mayor Ken Stannix says residents don't feel those responsible are being held accountable.
“Someone has worked all of their life to own a cottage, to have things in that cottage, and then somebody in the blink of an eye decides that, because they have a drug habit they need to fix, they’ll go in and steal generators or they steal boats, or canoes,” he said in an interview with CTV News.
Stannix wrote to the province’s Department of Public Safety on Tuesday with his concerns.
McAdam has a regional policing contract with the RCMP. According to Stannix, that means officers respond to calls, but don’t often patrol the area.
He says it costs the village almost $270,000 a year – about a quarter of their budget.
“When I talk to the young police officers, the RCMP here in the village, they’re keen. They want to be engaged. They want to catch the criminal effect here,” he said. “But it’s almost like their hands are tied by the system.”
The RCMP did send CTV news a statement on the matter.
“We strive to identify repeat offenders who are responsible for the largest amount of crime in our communities. We need citizens to call us when they see something out of the ordinary, suspect criminal activity, or have information about a particular crime or individual,” Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said.
Stannix said the community has tried a neighbourhood watch group. From 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., people were on the lookout for strange activity.
He said, as a result, residents did call police with information, but they don't feel it helped.
“This idea that they’re not getting enough calls, seems to be their answer as to the reason why people are not getting the service that they feel they're entitled to.”
The Department of Public Safety says it’s reviewing local and provincial policing services to “find ways to improve co-operation and safety."
In an emailed statement, a department spokesperson said the review will determine if services are being distributed evenly across New Brunswick communities.
“It will also examine the level of service, the need for specialized services and the requirements necessary to maintain specialized services. The work is expected to be completed before the end of the year,” the statement read.
The Department also said it’s aware of Stannix’s letter and is reaching out to set up a meeting.
Stannix is hoping for a more extensive review – with a focus on resources, staffing and the law itself.