The City of Thetford Mines demands the abolition of the Municipal Police Department

The City of Thetford Mines announced Monday evening at a public meeting of the council that it is asking Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault for permission to abolish the municipal police service so that its lands are serviced by the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).

This process began in 2021 after the advisory committee’s report was presented as part of public hearings on the reality of police in Quebec. Among the resulting recommendations, it is proposed to reduce the number of police services from 31 to 13 by recommending their transfer to SQ for several municipal bodies, including Thetford Mines, as well as increasing service levels.

During public hearings, the city instead asked the government to support it financially so that it would maintain the municipal police. However, the recommendations did not go in the direction that the city wanted.

“I would like to say that the operation that we have begun and which continues this evening (Monday 6 June) is by no means a judgment on the work of our police officers. “We have decided to move forward so that we do not have an obligation without giving in,” Mayor Marc-Alexandre Brusseau said during the General Council meeting, adding that This decision was not taken seriously.

The stages of the process provided for a public consultation that took place on 17 and 18 May. On this occasion, many police officers attended, but only seven citizens. Also on site were representatives from the city, Thetford Police Department, and SQ.

These two meetings allowed the municipal council to see that the residents did not oppose his plan to abolish the police force. After the decision was announced on June 6, the next steps were no longer in the city’s hands. In fact, the Ministry of Public Security will have to consult with local organizations and associations before the minister announces her decision. This should be followed by the formation of a reclassification committee which will determine the date of the merger, if possible, and submit it to the Minister for approval. However, no timetable has been set.

SQ . Warranties

Mark Alexandre Bruseau noted that the city had obtained several guarantees from SQ on the various items it had ordered. First, 38 police officers from the municipal service, including a director, assistant director and inspector, will be transferred to SQ.

It also obtained confirmation of a service center at the Thetford Mines for RCMs in Appalaches and Lotbinière, which are currently serviced by the Pont-Rouge Service Centre. “In the first discussions we had about it, we would have come from Saint-Georges-de-Boss, which we liked more or less,” said the mayor.

Some details remain to be clarified, notably the number of cars present on city grounds at all times, but Mr Brousseau emphasized that the safety of residents remains an important and fundamental component of the analysis undertaken.

There is no funding for municipal bodies

The City of Thetford has been protesting the county government for several years in an effort to obtain funding for the Municipal Police Service. “We have repeatedly said that there is some unfairness that occurs when municipalities served by SQ receive an average subsidy of 50% for police forces, while those with municipal service receive absolutely nothing.” Mayor Brousseau said.

According to a comparative analysis of costs, the difference between municipal service and SQ could be up to $2.5 million in 2026. It will be $1.3 million for 2022. However, the city must take responsibility for some of the costs that arise that are currently included in the bill for its municipal services. Which would reduce this gap. There is in particular the Bicycle Path Patrol ($7,000 a year), the School Transit Guard Service ($7,700 a year), and the Humanitarian Society ($93,200) as well as adding some resources to implement some municipal regulations and tasks at the moment being carried out by the Police Department . There will also be a loss of ticket revenue issued on provincial roads.

Finally, before the police force can be abolished, the city will have to reach an agreement with the Administrative Committee on Retirement and Insurance Plans regarding the transfer of employee rights.

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