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The Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP want to improve their community policing and police force diversity.
Both police organisations submitted their budget to the Committee of the Whole on Feb. 8.
HRP Chief Jean-Michel Blais said that community policing is the most important part of policing in Halifax. He says that engaging with the community “really is our bread and butter.”
He explained that community policing is “meeting with the community to solve problems.”
Blais explained that most people misunderstand what the term refers to, as “we have people ask us ‘why aren’t you out playing basketball with the kids?’ That’s not community policing; that’s community relations.”
District 6 councillor Tony Mancini agreed with these statements, saying that “the youth need to see mentors that look like them.”
RCMP Inspector Jason Popik also stated that he wanted to hire mental health officers. These officers would be trained to help prevent suicide and assist people in managing mental illness.
“The number of suicides out here (in Nova Scotia) is crazy,” Popik said. “It’s bewildering.”
The new police budget was unanimously approved.