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Cumberland municipal council is going to issue a request for proposals for policing services.

Council accepted the recommendation from its policing options review committee during its December meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.

With council’s decision, the committee has been tasked with drafting the request for proposals, based on the concerns raised in the public consultation process and bringing them back to council for review and approval.

“As we consulted with the public through five public consultations with Narrative Research there were common themes in the communities we visited,” Cumberland County Mayor Murray Scott said. “Those being visibility, response times and the need to feel safe in homes and communities. The report and survey reflect that and council has made a decision to issue an RFP.”

Scott said the council is hopeful the current provider and other potential providers respond to the request for proposals.

“It will be up to council at the end of the day to determine what that service looks like,” Scott said. “We understand the challenges in all levels of services around resources, but we need to do the best we possibly can for the residents of Cumberland County.”

The municipality established the review committee in May, which recommended a public engagement process be followed.

In August, Narrative Research of Halifax was hired to facilitate this process and reported back to the committee in October.

The process included five public meetings in Parrsboro, Pugwash, River Hebert, Springhill and Upper Nappan, an online survey and one-on-one stakeholder meetings as well as social media, radio and newspaper advertising.

“As a former police officer, I understand citizens are concerned and their need to feel safe. I also believe it is our responsibility as elected officials to listen and respond to those concerns,” the mayor said.

Upon receiving the results of the public engagement report from Narrative Research, the committee met to consider its options, including maintaining the status quo with no changes, conducting a review of policing services with the current provider and issuing a request for proposals for policing services.

At the Dec. 14 public meeting of council, the decision was made to ask the police review committee to prepare the terms of reference for the RFP, which will come back to council for its review and approval.

Any final decision around the RFP and the future of policing in the Municipality of Cumberland will be decided by council.