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Debate fires up at council over police suspension issue

Council has decided to pass a resolution to have the province look at suspending police officers without pay.

The resolution calls for the province to add more funding to the Police Services Act. This will help pay for the salaries of suspended officers to ease the burden of the municipal tax payer.

However, the decision came after a lengthy debate. Councillor Rick Dubeau questioned Mayor Black over comments he made in the media, where he allegedly said council doesn’t support the police force because they are asking for cuts.

Dubeau, a retired firefighter, says he takes offense to that.

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“To suggest, because I asked for more savings in the police budget, to suggest that I do not support our police officers is ridiculous,” says Dubeau. “I know better than most how hard they work, under very difficult conditions. I worked with them for over 32 years.”

Mayor Black says his comment was that he struggles with council debating cuts, when those cuts would come from layoffs. He says he was speaking on behalf of the Police Services Board, as he is the Chair.

He asks why they are debating going down that path, when suspended officers are continuing to be paid.

“It was clearly identified those cuts would likely come from layoffs of individuals, because there no was no additional capital being added.”

The resolution will now go to the province for final decision.

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