Local RCMP defend service to District of Carleton North while national RCMP union launches social media ad campaign

by | Oct 20, 2023

District of Carleton North council news from Oct. 10 meeting:

Western Valley RCMP makes presentation to council, defends service

Sgt. Dan Sharpe of the Western Valley Region RCMP appeared before the council to discuss policing services and answer questions. 

Sgt. Sharpe said his team has been focusing on high-crime areas in the district and continues to work toward understanding the area’s needs. 

He said the force wants to increase officer numbers but wouldn’t provide details on how many members or when that could happen.

Sharpe told councillors and those in the gallery that people should be calling whenever they witness a crime being committed, noting that ‘flags’ cannot be raised if people don’t report incidents. 

District of Carleton North Mayor Andrew Harvey appreciated the presentation but wasn’t convinced that people not reporting crimes is the issue. 

“I believe he has good intentions. (The RCMP) work hard and try to do the best they can with the resources they have. But, it always comes back to accountability and how many officers they have coming to our area – and we can’t ever seem to get those answers,” said Harvey. 

The mayor added that the RCMP presentation does not change what his council will do regarding their pursuit of a municipal police force. 

“Community policing, having better visibility, having 24/7 patrolling, even just having a local detachment where people can go and talk to someone. What he (Sharpe) mentioned was fine, but didn’t address any of those issues.”

Harvey made mention of the recent Facebook ad campaign that says residents of the District of Carleton North and Hartland should push back and say no to a regional municipal police force.

Both municipalities announced they would be reviewing RCMP services and exploring other options for policing, launching a formal process in June of this year. 

Spearheaded by the RCMP’s union, the National Police Federation’s social media ad campaign warns of higher costs and fewer professional resources if the councils terminate the RCMP contract.

“We spend $3 million already in Carleton North (for RCMP services),” said Harvey. “Our numbers with a municipal force will come close to that, and we’ll have a better product and be better able to service the community.” 

The mayor said if a change in policing posed a financial hardship to Carleton North residents, the council wouldn’t pursue the option. 

“We’re confident in our numbers,” he added.

Student councillor program to begin

Deputy Mayor Karen Hargrove briefed council members on a productive meeting with Carleton North High School staff regarding the proposed Student Councillor Program. The program will be moving forward and begin within the next month. Hargrove will mentor the participating students, who she noted are “excited to be part of this process.”

Festivals and grants application request

The council received a request from the Carleton Borderview Trailmakers Club for a donation to their upcoming fundraiser banquet in November. The event will be held at the Western Valley Multiplex, featuring a supper, live auction, and local music. Council approved a donation amount of $800, which is to be used either for the purchase of a table for the event or to be used towards the rental of the venue.

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