OXFORD, NS – Could Amherst police vehicles patrol the streets of Oxford one day?
The Wild Blueberry Capital City Council agreed to accept a proposal from the Amherst Police Department to potentially control the community, 35 kilometers away.
Oxford is currently being monitored by the RCMP. The detachment has five officers, including a supervisor and four officers.
"Amherst asked us if they could send us a proposal. As a council, we had a discussion and decided that we would be interested in reviewing their proposal, "said Oxford Mayor Trish Stewart. "It's always good to shop."
Stewart said the city is undergoing police overhaul. She said that Oxford had no problem with the RCMP, but wanted to look for the most affordable option for the upcoming community.
Police services cost about half a million dollars a year, which, according to the mayor, represents a substantial part of the city's $ 2.2 million budget.
"It's a very big part of our budget," he said. "It's important that we review so we can do a little investigation."
The mayor said the city had asked the RCMP to look for ways to cut costs for Oxford. She said the city has the second highest cost of maintaining order per capita in Nova Scotia.
"We have no problem with the police services provided, but it's a very expensive item and we need to make sure we get what we pay for."
Amherst Managing Director Greg Herrett confirmed that his city was in communication with Oxford. One of the purposes of the Amherst Police Review was to approach the Municipality of Cumberland and Oxford to find out if it was worthwhile for Amherst to provide police services.
Oxford has expressed interest in a conversation.
"The reason is that this could be a way of reducing our cost per agent and being able to offer a reduced cost per agent to Oxford or County," said Herrett, adding that it was very preliminary at this point. "Right now, it's just a conversation. We need to meet and discuss service levels and service expectations. Internally, we need to discuss with the police department and the police commission the possible impact. "
Herrett said that Amherst is happy to have the conversation. Maybe nothing will happen, the OAC said, but at least both communities can say they've looked at the costs of policing.