Last week Public Safety Canada held a Summit on the Economics of Policing which included nearly 300 representatives from across the country.

AMO was represented at the Summit by Past President Gary McNamara, Mayor of the Town of Tecumseh.

Federal Minister Vic Toews spoke of two options to address the rising cost of policing - do nothing and become forced to cut drastically or be proactive in the pursuit of meaningful ways to achieve sustainable policing costs.  AMO continues to advocate for the latter.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates costs for police services in Canada went up from $6.4 billion in 1999 to $12.3 billion in 2009, with municipalities paying for 60 per cent of that increase.  Here in Ontario, municipalities alone spent more than $3.5 billion on policing in 2010.  This is being tackled in part by the Future of Policing Advisory Committee and its working groups in which municipalities, through AMO, are well represented.

AMO continues to raise issues related to the cost of policing in a variety of areas. The accountability and transparency of arbitrators remains AMO’s top priority.

AMO President Russ Powers and Past President Gary McNamara recently met with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Honourable Madame Meilleur, and OPP Commissioner Lewis to highlight the mutual need for progress and our pledge to provide municipal input as necessary to deliver further efficiencies. AMO remains committed to working with the government on these issues.

Rising emergency service costs continues to capture media attention. Two recent stories of interest:

The website of TV Ontario’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin features an interview with Professor Christian Leuprecht of Royal Military College and Queen’s University on the rising cost of emergency services. Posted December 2012, the interview provides a good overall picture of key issues affecting municipalities and emergency service costs.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last week ran a special series of stories dedicated to the cost of policing.  Among them, University of Ottawa Criminologist Michael Kempa published a story on police costs. 

AMO will continue to update municipalities on these issues.

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