Staff Sgt. Archie Thompson explains what the changes to the policing model in East Hants may mean for residents during a public meeting held in Mount Uniacke Nov. 29.
Outlying areas in East Hants are expected to benefit from an amalgamation of policing services within the municipality.
On Nov. 1, six police officers with the Windsor District RCMP formally became “the Rawdon members” of the East Hants District RCMP. They will remain working out of Windsor’s headquarters until a police station is built in Rawdon.
The Rawdon members — constables George Cameron, Terry Fogarty, Rod Francis, Patricia Mahar and Corey Simmonds — are under the direction of Enfield RCMP Detachment Staff Sgt. Archie Thompson. A corporal from Windsor’s detachment will also be selected to act as a supervisor in the Rawdon office.
Thompson fielded questions from the public about the change at a well-attended community policing information session held at the Royal Canadian Legion in Mount UniackeNov. 29.
“When those members were in Windsor, they would often get pulled into West Hants and so on,” Thompson told the crowd.
“I see a benefit of having them under one command in East Hants so we get to focus on our own priorities in this area.”
The idea behind the new detachment is to get all of the police officers funded by the Municipality of East Hants stationed within the municipality’s borders.
The location of the new detachment was based on its proximity to headquarters in Enfield, and the rural areas of East Hants.
“One of the major factors was, currently, you have one detachment on the edge of the boundary and we get calls in Walton and Tennycape and down the shore… and the response time was just simply too great,” Thompson said.
He predicts the move to Rawdon will cut about 30 kilometres of driving on tricky roads out of the equation, which he feels will “chop half an hour off” of response time.
“There are a lot of serious things happening out in the rural areas — very serious things happening — where we’ve got to be there quickly.”
A building committee is working on finalizing a location for the Rawdon detachment, Thompson noted.
One citizen expressed concerns that concentrating members in Rawdon would mean less visibility in Mount Uniacke.
“I can see where you’re coming from, but I think over time you’ll see that that’s not the case,” Thompson responded.
The satellite police office in Mount Uniacke is being upgraded to include a plexiglasspartition that will make it safer for RCMP officers and volunteers to work out of, and the school policing officer for the East Hants detachment will be visiting the local school once a week, Thompson noted.
“The Mounties are going to be working out of here,” he said.
When asked how school zone speed limits will be enforced, Thompson advised motorists in attendance to reduce their speed to 50 km/h while travelling past the Uniacke District School whenever children are present — regardless of the time of day.
Councillor Rosanne Bland said a safe practice is to always assume children are present in school zones and drive accordingly.
“It’s safer for the kids; it’s safer for us. It’s not going to cost anybody anything to slow their car down,” she said.
Thompson said it’s possible the general public in East Hants may not notice much of a difference in the policing service because the main change is essentially the location of the Rawdon members’ home base.
“It’s the same members coming from Windsor to the same area.”
The officer shift to East Hants leaves the remaining Windsor District RCMP members covering West Hants, Windsor and Hantsport.
Thompson reminded all in attendance at the Mount Uniacke policing meeting that provincial resources are available for any detachment in need of extra assistance for serious cases.
“If there’s an emergency some place, then the resources get shifted.”