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Kensington council raises concern over cost of policing

Geoff Baker, Town of Kensington CAO, listens to Mayor Rowan Caseley’s monthly report. This month’s report detailed the progress of moving the bus fueling stations away from KISH. Baker says it’s been a five-year battle.
Town of Kensington CAO Geoff Baker. - File

KENSINGTON, P.E.I. - A Kensington councillor has concerns about cost overruns at the town’s police department.

At a recent meeting Mayor Rowan Caseley called for comments on the monthly police report, and Coun. Jeff Spencer addressed some issues with wages.  

“Hopefully they’re going to get under control a bit here in the next couple months,” Spencer said.

At the end of November, the police department was $66,000 over its budget for the year.

“They’ve had a tough year, no question,” said CAO Geoff Baker, referring to two “fairly major HR issues” in early 2018.

Caseley said he can’t discuss those issues, but noted they accounted for about half of the over-expenditures.

Another $10,000 went to drug detection training for one of the officers. That expense will be reimbursed by the province.

Baker said the force has made scheduling changes in the last month or so, including having Chief Lewie Sutherland work the beat. 

“He’s cancelled a lot of his chief’s meetings and things of that nature so he can run a duty shift,” said Baker.

They said the CAO is watching the budget carefully to make sure the new coverage plan is cost-effective.

“(Sutherland) is certainly putting effort into trying to minimize (expenses) as much as possible,” said Baker.

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