Amherst town council has taken the first step towards one of its strategic priorities - an in-depth study on the cost of policing in Amherst.
"Council is doing its due diligence on one of the town's major cost drivers," Mayor David Kogon said May 28, after council approved the terms of reference for the two-phase study.
The first phase includes reviewing the Amherst Police Department from an internal perspective. It will provide the information necessary for council to determine whether to proceed to the second phase.
Should council approve the second phase, Kogon noted it “may include seeking proposals from other service providers, but that is not necessarily the case."
Council has tasked a project committee, consisting of the town’s police chief, deputy police chief, CAO, and CFO with conducting the first phase.
The project committee, in the first phase, will identify all of the services provided by the current police force as well as the costs of those services, and assess possible efficiency improvements. It will also analyze how the town’s policing costs and staffing levels compare to other jurisdictions and evaluate the long-term qualitative and quantitative impacts of remaining with the existing model and service level, including expected increases in costs.
In addition, the project committee will provide service delivery alternatives with costs and conduct a risk assessment of existing service delivery as well as any proposed modifications to service delivery.
In fulfilling their work, the project committee must conform to existing provincial and municipal legislation relating to police forces including the Police Act and Regulations, Municipal Government Act, the town’s procurement policy and the town’s proceedings of council policy.
The Phase 1 project committee is to file a report on its findings to council in October.
Should council decide to move on to Phase 2, the terms of reference call for the establishment of a review committee, which shall include a minimum of six members and a maximum of nine, all of whom must be appointed by a resolution of council.
During the second phase, the current policing needs and expectations of the community shall be established by the review committee by obtaining input from a number of the town’s stakeholders.
If the study proceeds to Phase 2, the review committee’s report is to be completed by May 31, 2019.
The terms of reference are attached below.
Efficiency - the ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy.
Environmental Scan - is a process that systematically surveys and interprets relevant data to identify external opportunities and threats.
Hybrid Model – a method of delivering service that is made by combining two different entities.
Integrated Police Service Model – an approach providing services to one jurisdiction or multiple jurisdictions while funding a joint unit. A unit may comprise officers from more than one police agency or from two or more levels of policing (i.e. federal, provincial, municipal).
Implementation Plan – breaks options into identifiable steps, assigns each step to one or more people and suggests when each step will be completed.
Level of Service – the amount and kind of service currently being or contemplated to be offered.
Process Mapping - refers to activities involved in defining what an entity does, who is responsible, to what standard a process is completed, and how the success of a process can be determined.
Council set out strategic priorities for this fiscal year and one of these was to review policing services and related costs. This Terms of Reference is a first step in addressing this priority. To ensure the process is done properly with the appropriate stakeholders participating, staff determined it would be best to do the work in two Phases. The first Phase would include reviewing the APD from an internal perspective and the second Phase would expand on this and include potential external options for service delivery.
The Terms of Reference is therefore broken into two Phases. There would be a decision point required after the completion of the Phase I work.
The mandate of the Project Committee is to provide advice and recommendations to Council after examining options related to policing in the Town of Amherst(Town). The committee will be reviewing options to address, educate and/or understand increasing policing costs and the level of services those costs provide.
The initial draft of Phase I of this review (items 1-8 below) is to be completed by September 2018. A final draft will be ready for the October council meeting.
To fulfill its mandate, the Project Committee will be guided by the following scope of work:
1. Conduct an identification of all services provided by the Police
2. Conduct a service review of the existing police service to identify and assess possible efficiency improvements.
3. Once all services currentlyy provided and their related costs are identified obtain agreement from council as to whether all services will continue to be offered.
4. Conduct an analysis of how the Town of Amherst costs and staffing levels compare to other jurisdictions.
5. Evaulate the long-term qualitative and quantitative impacts of remaining with the existing model and service level delivered by the Amherst Police Department including expected increases in costs.
6. Provide options for service delivery alternatives with costs
7. Conduct a risk assessment of existing service delivery as well as any proposed modifications to service delivery
8. Prepare a report and presentation with costed options for the Amherst Police Department
9. Present the report and recommendations to council.
Once the above is complete, Council can determine if they wish to proceed with further review which could include items outlined in Phase II.
The Project Committe will be responsible for:
The Project Committee membership shall include:
The Project Committee will meet at least every second Wednesday to review steps and information received to date. Additional meeting may be scheduled in order to ensure the project is completed in a timely manner.
It is intended the term of the project committee shall extend until such time as the mandate has been fulfilled at which point a final report will be presented to Council.
The Working Group, when fulfilling their scope of work, must conform to the requirements of various pieces of Provincial and Municipal legislation including but not limited to:
The mandate of the Review Committee is to provide advice and recommendations to Council after examining options related to policing in the Town of Amherst(Town). The committee will be exploring modified police service delivery options.
The initial draft of Phase II of this review (items 1- below) is to be completed by May 31, 2019. A final draft will be ready for the June council meeting. After the completion of Phase I, there will be a decision required by council regarding proceeding to Phase II which will require the Phase II documentation for the Terms of Reference to be brought back to council for additional review.
To fulfill its mandate, the Review Committee will be guided by the following scope of work:
1. Determine the level of interest by other parties in expanding the existing Amherst Police Department service area to adjoining communities/areas beyond the Town boundaries. If sufficient interest exists, conduct a feasibility analysis of this option and develop a plan for implementation.
2. Request a proposal from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which must follow the protocol in Appendix A.
3. Examine variations of a hybrid model (including by service category) of policing whereby, pursuant to agreement, the required police and security services are delivered by a compbition of two or more of the following
4. Any additional options that are discovered during Phase 1.
During Phase II, if required, the current policing needs and expectations of the community shall be established by obtaining input from a number of the Town’s stakeholders; and suitably documented to support the Committee’s recommendations for future policing services in the Town. This needs and expectations document shall be a public document, available to all stakeholders.
During Phase II, the deliverables of the Review Committee are to be guided by and be consistent with the attached Protocol document issued by Nova Scotia Justice, and with Town’s key objective to provide quality programs and services that are cost effective, environmentally responsible, innovative and respectful of our heritage.
The Review Committee is advisory in nature and established by Council in accordance with the adopted Terms of Reference.
Actions of the Review Committee that require Council approval include:
The Review Committee will communicate its findings and recommendations to Council. As the Committee is focused on Phase II, it is expected these reports will be monthly or will require a special meeting of council.
The Review Committee shall be comprised of a minimum of six (6) members and may include up to three (3) additional members, all of which are to be appointed by resolution of Council.
Review Committee membership shall include:
REQUIRED VOTING MEMBERS
REQUIRED NON-VOTING MEMBERS
The CAO shall act as Chairperson for the Review Committee.
Staff resources will include the Chief Administrative Officer or designate, the Chief Financial Officer and if available within existing staff resources may include occasional administrative support coordinated through the CAO.
The Review Committee will meet formally at least monthly or at the call of the Chairperson. Town Administrative staff shall receive advanced notice of meeting times/dates (at least three (3) working days prior to the meeting). Records to document action items dealt with during meetings and attendees shall be maintained and particulars shall be included in the Committee’s reports. A quorum of members (50% plus 1) will be required for a meeting to take place. In the absence of the Chairperson, the quorum will appoint a Chairperson for that particular meeting from the members in attendance.
It is intended the term of appointment shall extend until such time as the mandate has been fulfilled at which point a final report will be presented to Council.
The Review Committee, when fulfilling their scope of work, must conform to the requirements of various pieces of Provincial and Municipal legislation including but not limited to:
Department of Justice Protocol - Review of Policing Services Options
This protocol is provided as a guideline for Municipalities seeking to review options for the provision of policing services within their jurisdiction.
1. Council(s) will pass a resolution to conduct a review of policing options and set the Terms of Reference for the review. The Terms of Reference will set the scope of the review and may include the present service, RCMP Service, shared services, amalgamated services, or municipal contracted services.
2. In an amalgamated police service, a letter of request from each Council will be required.
3 Council(s) should empower a Review Committee by establishing working principles or guidelines for the Committee. The Review Committee must have representation from the Department of Justice, the Board of Police Commissioners or Police Advisory Board as applicable, present service provider, and may include other members as directed by Council(s).
4. It is the responsibility of the Review Committee Chair to inform and maintain contact with the Department of Justice representative/consultant. This will include notification of all meetings and correspondence between stakeholders.
5. Principles for the Review Committee will include, but are not limited to: time-frame for the review; direction on the forum of review Committee meetings (public, in-camera); voting privileges (DOJ representative and present service provider will be non-voting); and a communication policy.
6. The options available to a municipality for the selection of a police service may be found in the Nova Scotia Police Act (Section 36) and requires consent of the Minister.
7. The existing police service must provide a presentation of the current service provided. All reviews must be qualitative in nature and will begin with determination of the current level of service by the Review Committee.
8, The determination of the current level of service will include, but is not limited to: the planned and actual shift schedule for the preceding twelve (12) months; a listing of all services and programs presently provided; an analysis of work activity indicators; costing details (operating and capital); recognized deficiencies; or other indicators provided by the Department of Justice.
9. The Review Committee will establish, in writing, the policing needs and expectations of the community(s) prior to any presentation or proposal being made. This needs and expectations document will be provided to all stakeholders. The current level of policing service provisions will not be eroded.
10. All service proposals will include, but are not limited to, the following:
11. RCMP proposals will be in accordance with:
12. During the review period, service providers shall not market, lobby, or solicit support from either the Council(s) or the public, beyond that of their written proposal to the Review Committee.
13. Service option proposals or presentations are not to contain any criticism or remarks on the current service provider, except as to how the proposal will address recognized deficiencies as included in the status quo determination.
14. All proposals will be reviewed and validated by the Review Committee.
15. After evaluation, the Review Committee will provide to Council(s) the recommendations for the future policing options.
16. To proceed with an option, Council(s) will be required to pass a resolution. Certified copies of the resolution, with the accepted proposal, will be forwarded to the Minister of Justice for approval. A resolution for an RCMP policing option will require the approval of both the Minister of Justice and the Federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
17. Where the option is an external service provider, a roles and responsibilities document or a signed contract may be established to meet the service expectations of the community(s) and a copy shall be provided to the Minister of Justice. The representative of the Department of Justice will be a contributing partner to the development of the document.
18. Where the option is an RCMP service provider, the municipality(s) shall establish a Police Advisory Board pursuant to Section 57 of the Nova Scotia Police Act.
19. Where the option is to establish a Municipal Police Department, the municipality(s) shall establish a Board of Police Commissioners pursuant to Section 44 of the Nova Scotia Police Act.