I do not believe that two very senior RCMP officials would knowingly give the elected representatives of three levels of government wrong information. I can only assume that these senior officials were given wrong information and they used that information when they made the decision to concentrate the two 911 communication centres in Dartmouth.
The attached letter from the Honourable Carl Urquhart, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General for New Brunswick proves their stated position is wrong.
The decision was based on wrong info and it should be reversed.
Attached is a letter sent last week to the Commissioner of the RCMP and the Assistant Commissioner of the RCMP. Attached is also a copy of Minister Urquhart’s letter to me.
Commissioner Brenda Lucki
Commissioner of the RCMP
Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman
RCMP Commanding Officer, Nova Scotia.
Decision Made With Wrong Information
The decision to co-locate the two major Nova Scotia 911 police communication call centers together in downtown Dartmouth was made with wrong information and should be reversed.
In August of 2018, you may recall that I met with a very senior RCMP official at the Delta Hotel in Halifax. I was assured at that meeting that co-location now was safe because “technology now allows the RCMP to flip a switch and transfer the Nova Scotia 911 calls to New Brunswick”.
In February 2019, the Mayor of Colchester County, Christine Blair, the Mayor of Truro, Bill Mills, Stephanie McNeil from MLA Zann’s office and me as MP met with another very senior official from the RCMP at the Holiday Inn in Truro.
That Senior RCMP Officer told us exactly the same thing. Co-locating the 911 call centers was now safe because….”technology now allows the RCMP to flip a switch and transfer the Nova Scotia 911 calls to New Brunswick”.
Attached is a copy of a letter from the Honourable Carl Urquhart, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General for New Brunswick which debunks that statement. Minister Urquhart served in the RCMP and Fredericton Police Service for a total of 33 years, and has also served as a volunteer firefighter. He has first hand knowledge of emergency response systems.
Regarding the notion that 911 calls from Nova Scotia could be instantly transferred to New Brunswick, Minister Urquhart’s letter says “there are no such ideas or discussions in New Brunswick” and that New Brunswick is in the process of “implementing technical and operational changes” until 2023, and therefore “the province remains jurisdictionally and provincially focused”. There is no backup in New Brunswick.
With the co-location of the two 911 emergency call centers, Nova Scotia would lose the geographic separation required by all leading 911 emergency response authorities for a safe 911 communication system. Again, I have provided the RCMP with four reports by the leading professionals in this field. If the RCMP can provide even one credible report that says that geographic separation is no longer a requirement for a safe 911 system, please send me a copy. My first request for this information was in February 2019 at the Holiday Inn meeting.
Clearly the RCMP senior management made this decision with wrong information. Considering this fact, and that we are in the middle of an unprecedented global corona virus pandemic, I urge you to reverse the decision to co-locate the two major 911 emergency communication centers together in downtown Dartmouth. Now is not the time to experiment.
Former Member of Parliament