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'We have officers that do foot patrols': Halifax Regional Police responds to calls for beat cops 


As businesses in Halifax call for an increased police presence, Halifax Regional Police insists it has a multi-level police patrolling strategy. 

“We have officers that do foot patrols on a regular basis and we do that throughout our region,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Const. John Macleod.

He also noted the police rely on bike patrols, community resource officers and patrols done in vehicles and said those needs change based on resources, calls for service and what’s in front of them.

“Our front-line patrol officers are out there doing what we want them to do. Like I say, it’s part of our patrol strategy and we need to look at what’s required from our community,” he said.

Macleod said during COVID-19, adjustments were made to street patrols for safety reasons.

“Those changes, we’re moving back from those,” he said.

Earlier this week, Paul Mackinnon, the CEO of the Halifax Downtown Business Commission, said businesses want to see an increased police presence downtown. It comes after a 56-year-old man survived multiple stab wounds in an apparently random attack Friday evening.

“You think about the old days of the 'cop on the beat,'" Mackinnon said.

Jim Hoskins, a retired staff sergeant with Halifax Regional Police, said traditionally, police have moved away from beat patrols because of resources.

He’s walked the beat and knows it works.

“It gives the public a sense of safety when they see police officers downtown and they get to know the business people, they get to know the small shops,” he said.

Hoskins believes consistency is key.

“It’s easy to say put more presence but you need officers that are going to be down there steady and know the district and want to own that turf,” he said.

Downtown Dartmouth, N.S., businesses ran into their own problems this summer

“One of our storekeepers was assaulted and that was the straw that broke the camel's back,” said Tim Rissesco, the CEO of Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission.

Rissesco said Dartmouth businesses met with police and asked for a greater presence.

“We received increased police patrols and a community response officer for downtown Dartmouth,” he said.

The union representing police believes the biggest challenge in delivering the service is staffing. 

“We’re going to have to figure out how to get more police officers back to work, out on the street or hired. I just don’t believe we can do it with the staffing levels we have right now,” said Sgt. Dean Stienburg, the president of the Halifax Regional Police Association. Top Stories

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