TBL and Bromont are in discussion about joining police services in the hope of reducing their respective costs. Peter Stone was Police Chief in Town of Brome Lake for nine years between 1989 and 1999. At the time he was running a team of 11 staff and an annual budget of $800,000. In an interview with Tempo , the former Police Chief said that the agreement with the SQ could be improved and he made some suggestions. “
Joining Bromont to provide police services in TBL is like changing four quarters for a dollar” says Peter Stone. “When the Police Act was changed, it would have become too costly for us to meet its new standards. Bromont decided to bite the bullet and kept its own force.”
SQ financing a problem – The cost of police services is based on property value rather than on the value of services provided. With its high property valuation, TBL pays more than Cowansville, for instance, which has more than twice the population. To mitigate that, Stone suggests TBL sit down with the SQ and try to hammer out a deal that would take into account criteria such as population, evaluation, crime and highway statistics in equal proportions.
More but not better – In his view the services between Bromont and the SQ would be equivalent quality-wise, the quantity of services may differ, but at a cost. He cites for example infrastructure. Would there be a need to build a new police HQ in Bromont if more officers join the force? How would the costs be split? There would be a need to sign a 10-year agreement for it to reflect costs over time.
Another way of keeping track of costs and services, Stone suggests that a municipal employee be responsible for liaison with the SQ, “that would improve the value of police services,” he says. Also “setting up a TBL public security forum on social media” would be a good way to establish a better relationship between the police and the population. TBL wants to reach an agreement with Bromont before the present contract with the SQ comes to an end in September 2017.