November 15, 2022

Virgil Hammock
Candidate Ward 3 Councillor
Tantramar Township

When was the last time that you saw a uniformed member of our local RCMP detachment walking a beat in downtown Sackville? I don’t know about you, but for me it has been quite awhile. I understand that they might have better things to do, however, it has not always been so. When we first contracted them it was not uncommon to see an officer walking downtown or a couple of them having coffee in a local coffee shop. We even had officers on bikes. They gave a face to local law enforcement. I believe this absence points to a bigger problem of trust in our community and whether we have adequate policing. With the forthcoming township of Tantramar, of which Sackville is a part, it is question that needs to be asked.

In the past, and I assume now, there were three RCMP detachments based in Sackville’s town hall—Sackville town, rural, and highway. The Sackville detachment looked after the town and was paid by the town. The rural looked after the area outside the town (soon to be part of Tantramar) and the highway, of course, highways. The latter two detachments paid rent to Sackville to use our town hall. It should be remembered that part of the town detachment’s cost was also partially paid for by a government grant. That’s a simple explanation, but it is, of course, more complex than that.

People in Sackville have complained to me what they see as the lack of policing in our town. It not just an officer walking a beat, but noisy cars, trucks, and motorcycles speeding on town streets, break-ins, both in homes and cars. They see very serious crimes being committed just outside of town.

In the past there was a police presence at public town council meetings, usually the chief, to answer questions from council and the public. In addition there was a printed police report at council meetings for the public to pick up. Of course, there were questions that could not be answered in public, but having the physical presence of the RCMP at meetings was reassuring to the citizens of Sackville. Policing is one of our biggest expenditures and the public has a right to know if this money is being will spent. I will work, if elected, to bring back police accountably to the public of Tantramar including having a police presence at council meetings to answer questions.

How policing will work in Tantramar remains to be seen. One force, two forces, three forces? How much control will council and mayor have over policing? I know that I want more, not less control, but I am just one would-be councillor. This new township is vast and every citizen of Tantramar is entitled to the equal protection of law enforcement. It is going to be a tough go over the next couple of years, and possibly, more. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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