Summerside council decides against sole responsibility for police in schools

Mike Carson
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Expense, lack of police manpower cited as main issues

Summerside city hall

SUMMERSIDE — Citing costs and lack of manpower, city council made it clear at a police committee meeting Tuesday that it doesn’t want the sole responsibility of putting a police officer in Summerside schools.

The idea was proposed last August by Coun. Tina Mundy, chairwoman of the city’s police services committee, based on the success experienced with a similar program in Charlottetown.

A report was compiled to determine the feasibility of stationing a student resource officer (SRO) in the Summerside school system.

One of those interviewed in the report was Police Chief David Poirier.

Poirier said the main issue is manpower.

“In my opinion, the only way this program will work successfully is if we are back up to full complement (of full-) and part-time officers,” the chief said.

“At the present time, there is absolutely not enough money in our police services budget to address the issue of an SRO in our schools,” he said. “I also feel that it would be futile to approach the province for funding, as Charlottetown (police department) learned first-hand that this didn’t work.”

The city’s chief administrative officer, Bob Ashley, also didn’t support the city taking on the task, citing fiscal challenges.

" . . . it would be futile to approach the province for funding, as Charlottetown (police department) learned first-hand that this didn’t work.” Summerside Chief David Poirier

“The reality faced by the province and municipalities alike is financial strain or even hardship,” he said. “Given the already stretched resources of Summerside’s police force and the fiscal challenges of the city, my recommendation concurs with Chief Poirier.”

The city, instead, will be submitting a resolution to the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities to begin discussions with the province, on behalf of all municipalities, on a policy issue or program research and development of SROs in schools.

Mundy argued that in Charlottetown the benefits of having an SRO went beyond making schools safer.

She said there was an impact on the crime rate in the community as well.

“I see it more as crime prevention,” she said.

Coun. Frank Costa noted the city has never received a request from the schools for an SRO.

Deputy Mayor Bruce MacDougall said the issue is something the provincial government through the Department of Education should be dealing with.

Organizations: Summerside council, Summerside school, Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities Department of Education

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • candrayo
    January 11, 2014 - 06:05

    It takes a community to keep our children safe…not one police officer! So instead of fighting so hard for someone else to do the job, ask yourself, ARE YOU ACTIVELY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT OUR YOUTH'S FUTURE????

  • another S'Side resident
    January 10, 2014 - 14:56

    providing safety/security to schools is not the responsibility of local police forces .Their job is to respond to incidents as required. Local school boards shall provide appropriate security were deemed necessary thus hire their own security guards.

  • don
    January 10, 2014 - 13:57

    Expense = you would have had the money but you donated to the USA. lack of police manpower = because you have so many out on stress leave 1st time is s'sides history we have so many out. why? there must be a reason it is time to ask the police that's out why and what is the reason of the stress. you never had this when griffen or drumond was there, nor george or any before them now you have them out plus 2 on drunk leave, this all falls on the mayor he is not doing his job. and basil you will not hire any more police what is going to happen and it will when the police you have now are out due to burn out. are you and the council willing to police the streets?

  • Summerside Resident
    January 10, 2014 - 12:42

    With the number of officers is the Summerside Police Services, over twenty I was told, there has to be a way for more Police presence in and around the schools. The Chief of Police is allotted so many dollars each year and he can deploy his members as he sees fit. First an overview of what each officer does on a monthly basis is required, than have them assigned to the schools as part of their duties. This issue should not be dropped but there has to be a way. Years ago there was a Police Officer at Three Oaks, the school supplied the office and computer. It was Pilot Project and worked very well. Anything like this has to be cost shared between the City and the Unit Two School board. Why not try this again?

    • don
      January 10, 2014 - 15:24

      i can remember a officer by the name of harry mackay of the town police and he was loved by all kids. thats what you need today is a officer that the kids "trust"