Cape Breton police still working on new strategic plan

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 @ 11:23AM


SYDNEY — The chief of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service says its strategic plan is a work in progress.

Chief Peter McIsaac presented the service’s three-year strategic plan to the board of police commissioners this week.

“You’re always readjusting the plan, some things you’ll like to execute longer than others,” McIsaac said.

The service unveiled its first strategic plan in 2012, with McIsaac dubbing it a road map to where the service must be.

The police service has an annual $26-million budget, 90 per cent of which goes to salaries and expenses such as uniforms, vehicles, officer safety and training.

The CBRM pays for 167 officers, with the remaining 35 officers funded through the provincial government Boots on the Street program, the integrated traffic unit with the RCMP, policing on the Membertou First Nation and with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board for school liaison officers.

Among the main objectives of the plan is to implement and foster “a culture of ethical behaviour.”

McIsaac said an ethics program was identified in the first plan, but they discovered it was a more complicated process than originally anticipated because not a lot of police services have a “living, breathing” ethics program. He described it as providing guiding principles on how to approach the job of policing in the community.

“Hopefully in the next two or three years we’ll have a book that talks about our ethos, about our culture and what we stand for, which is courage, pride honour and service,” McIsaac said.

“We did a lot of work on it, there’s a lot more work to go.”

They also plan to focus on a wellness program and mental readiness of officers.

“It’s about supporting our officers when it comes to stuff, dealing with serious incidents and post-traumatic stress and making them more resilient when they go about their daily jobs,” McIsaac said.

The service also works to be creative when it comes to training, with McIsaac noting it is very expensive to provide police training today. He noted that rather than send a few officers to the Atlantic Police Academy in they bring in personnel from the academy, and are therefore able to train more officers on key parts of the job such as search warrants, interrogation, and statement analysis.

The work to update the strategic plan this time included an opportunity for public input, with the addition of an online survey.

“The comments that came back were very favourable, people had a lot of trust and confidence in us,” McIsaac said.

There were about 1,500 responses from members of the public, who were asked about issues such as customer service, response times and engagement with officers.

The strategic plan will be available on the police service’s website so that it can be reviewed by members of the public.

Cape Breton Regional Police Service:

  • Serves about 100,000 people
  • Covers a geographic area of 2,500 square kilometres
  • Responds to more than 60,000 calls for service each year
  • Has 202 sworn officers
  • Includes almost 15 specialized sections and teams
  • Has an annual budget of $26 million, 90 per cent of which goes to salaries and related expenses such as uniforms, vehicles, officer safety and training

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