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Do we need a big new police station right now?

One has to wonder if a number of Community Policing Offices may be the best option

Do we need a big new police station right now?

Defund the police?

I’m certainly NOT a fan of this! The RCMP admirably perform many and varied services to the North Cowichan community. However, the COVID crisis has brought numerous challenges for our municipality. Budget shortfalls due to lost income from services like rinks and pools will have to be covered in the shorter term (we hope!). At the RCMP detachment on Canada Avenue a buzzer has been placed at the front door at which one waits and waits for an answer. The lights are off and everybody’s home. One has to ask the question again: is this really the time for a 4.5 per cent increase in our taxes to cover a new $48 million RCMP building?

Our municipality is vast and includes the smaller centers of Chemainus, Crofton, Maple Bay, Cowichan Commons and Duncan itself. One has to wonder if a number of Community Policing Offices may be the best option for enhancing response times, and locally focussed delivery of services. For example, the Drinkwater location seems an odd place to locate Indigenous policing. The COVID crisis has also contributed to the opioid and homelessness crises. How about a few beat cops — like British Bobbies — that walk the streets of Duncan, and get to know store owners, junkies and the mentally handicapped alike. Some of that money could go a long way toward helping them. Take a look at this article for example: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/why-london-won-t-arm-all-police-despite-severe-terror-n737551

There’s still time to reconsider. We’ve broken ground, but we don’t have to break the bank.

Bruce Coates,

North Cowichan

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