Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey rose in the House of Commons today and asked the Minister of Public Safety why the RCMP are even considering a plan that would jeopardize the safety of Nova Scotians.
Casey cited two paragraphs of the 2004 internal report which recommended that the RCMP “not locate their primary OCC [operational communications centre] within the Halifax Regional Municipality” and which further recommended that “the two largest police communications operations in Nova Scotia” not be located in the same metro area.
The reason is simple: if a major disaster occurs in Halifax and both the centres are located there, 93% of emergency communications in Nova Scotia could be disrupted. Disaster management and recovery in HRM would be impeded; and normal dispatching across the entire province would be interrupted.
RCMP Dispatch Centre in Truro, NS
Yet, said Casey, the RCMP’s Nova Scotia Division is considering doing just that. With space to fill in its Dartmouth headquarters, there is pressure to move the RCMP OCC—currently at a safe remove in Truro—to HRM. “FEMA, the National Emergency Number Association, the Toronto Police Service and others all agree that you need redundancy in an emergency communication system,” says Casey. “You don’t have redundancy if the whole system is located in a single metropolitan area.”
Casey adds the RCMP should rule out further consideration of the move and focus on ensuring the Truro OCC has the facilities it needs for the long-term.