Halifax’s new public safety officer said it’s too soon to be specific about his plans to make city streets safer, but creating partnerships is high on his list.
“This is day one in my office,” said Supt. Don Spicer, who was appointed to the position yesterday. “I haven’t even gotten to open the door yet.”
As public safety officer, Spicer will be responsible for implementing the 64 recommendations from the mayor’s roundtable report on violence released last month. The report’s themes include diversity, community engagement and provincial partnerships.
He will also lead the public safety office staff of 32 police officers, 14 civilians and volunteers.
“Public safety is everyone’s responsibility,” he said. “There must be collaboration and meaningful relationships with all levels of government and community partners to achieve the common goal of public safety.”
The $3.2-million price tag for the public safety office will come from existing resources, and will involve no new money.
Justice Minister Cecil Clarke and Mayor Peter Kelly announced the appointment at City Hall.
“I want to say how pleased we are that the province is stepping up to take crime seriously,”Kelly said about the federally funded position.
Clarke couldn’t say how long the public safety officer position would be funded, other than to indicate that it was in the last budget and will be in the 2009 budget.
The province invested $7 million over the last two years to hire 50 additional police officers for Halifax, one of which is the public safety officer. Clarke said that amount should increase over the next year.
Spicer’s face will be familiar to many in Halifax. He joined the police force in 1978, and has filled many different roles from beat cop to media relation’s officer. He was divisional commander of peninsular Halifax from 2005 to 2007.