A special Council meeting was held Monday May 3rd to receive the Annual Police Report. Presentations by Chair Dean Pepper and Chief Paul Vandegraaf summarized the glossy 44 page report (see link below). The report mostly covers achievements and partners but does include some of the closely watched numbers. Because of the pandemic, some numbers were down and others increased – the virus did not stop criminals. Councillor comments after the presentations praised Police performance, the use of tiered Policing and asked about body-worn cameras and what was being done about graffiti – more on this below. The force – sorry, “Service” – consists of 18 Auxiliary Police (volunteers), 20 Special Constables as well as 35 “sworn” or regular constables. During the year, as well as replacing a constable who resigned, a communications coordinator was hired – Lisa Munday.
Activity was slightly less in 2020, probably because of the pandemic – there were 10,994 calls for service compared to 11,391 in 2019.
Police continued to enforce laws on drugs, charged 17 people and confiscated $86K worth of drugs (fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine) plus money related to drug trafficking. The 82 grams of fentanyl seized by CPS in 2020 represents up to 1,642 individual sales.
Police continued to partner with:
- MHEART community mental health provider
- Venture 13 Police Tech Accelerator. A joint initiative of the Cobourg Police Service (CPS) and Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC). Helps develop innovative technology useful to Police everywhere. See full report for examples.
- Rebound – A youth program
- Cornerstone – supports female victims of domestic violence
- Food-Bank and Salvation Army supported by Cram-a-cruiser
The largest wholesaler of online Third-Party Criminal Record Checks in Canada. The main role of Corporate Services is to process criminal background checks via Third party Companies across Canada for applicants who are looking for employment or volunteering. Funding to operate the Corporate Services Division of the CPS is 100% generated through revenue. In 2020, the revenue was $3,500,000 and in addition to paying for itself, it paid for all Police Capital spending.
Police jokes often talk about the paperwork – and it’s true. Police provide reports on many of their activities.
- Use of Force: 31 in 2020 vs 19 in 2019
- Complaints: 11 in 2020 vs 12 in 2019 – of these, 7 were made by the Chief, that is, were internal. Only 4 complaints were made by the public.
- Strip Search: 27 – divided by race: 21 white, 4 black, 1 indigenous, 1 not listed; divided by gender: 21 male 6 female; all adult. Evidence found in 1 case.
Corporate services has been supporting Police Capital Expenditures for some time. Since 2004, the total spent on Police Capital by Corporate Services is $7,434,296:
- Office Equipment: $509,405
- Computer Upgrades: $378,155
- Uniform/Equipment: $411,877
- Radio System: $249,273
- Vehicles: $776,057
- Building: $2,550,947
- Community: $82,486
- Venture 13: $2,476,096
Without Corporate Services, these expenditures would have been carried by the taxpayer dollars OR may not have been completed.
In 2020, the capital budget was $158K (fully funded by Corporate services); 38% of this went to IT and 62% went to equipment.
On the payroll are 35 uniform personnel, 20 special constables and 47 civilians.
Most of the budget of $8M goes to salaries and benefits for these (83%). 78% of the $8M comes from Cobourg taxpayers, 11% comes from recoveries and grants and 11% from Corporate Services revenue.
- Councillor Emily Chorley asked for the status on body cameras. The chief responded that the Province has put deployment on hold pending a report on Privacy issues. The Cobourg plan should be completed by August 2021 in time for budget deliberations and potential deployment in 2022.
- Councillor Darling asked what was being done re speeding. The Chief said it was not a big issue although there were statistics available and these would be provided next year. The Chief also responded to a question on Graffiti. He commented that the new CCTV program should help and noted that despite public thinking that this was a teenager problem, recent arrests were males in their 20’s.
- Councillor Emily Chorley commented that there had been little to no public input on the 2021 Police budget. Chair Dean Pepper said that there would be a public meeting this year.
I would make a couple of comments on the overall tone of the meeting: The Chief was very supportive of his team (as always) and Council was happy with their performance. Transparency seems to be good. The full report is worth reading.