By Stephen Hawboldt
The Annapolis RCMP is asking Annapolis County council to approve funding for six additional officers with two dedicated to traffic enforcement. There are currently 12 officers serving Annapolis County.
Annapolis Detachment head, Staff Sergeant John deWinter, said that the additional officers will provide extended hours of service, more proactive policing, enhanced support for officers in the field, better surveillance, and improved staff training. Council was told that in 2011 there was one officer per 1,464 residents. This is nearly three times the provincial and national average ratios that are one constable per 502 and 501, respectively. The annual per capita cost of the policing is Annapolis County is about $86 which is about one third of the average.
“We’re not out long enough,” he added. The heavy workloads and overtime demands are making it difficult for officers to be as involved in educational outreach including working with youth. Staff turnover is a problem due to reduced professional development opportunities and limited family time for everyone.
Staff Sergeant deWinter told council that six additional officers were approved in 2006 but only five of these positions have been filled so far due to the high demand for officers. The local workload is making Annapolis less attractive for new recruits. Even if council approves the funds to hire the six new constables, deWinter said that it will take a couple of years or more to fill the positions.
In the presentation deWinter estimated that the additional officers will cost less than $46 per capita of county population. The request will become part of the 2012-13 budgeting process for the municipality.