The Kingston Police Services Board on Monday finalized a budget that will go to city council later this month.
The budget has a 3.6 per cent spending increase, slightly higher than what council might be looking for to keep next year’s property tax increase at 2.5 per cent.
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Police Chief Antje McNeely says the increase would have been 2.6 per cent, if not for expenses outside of the police’s control, such as higher gas prices and insurance rates.
The more than $42 million crime-fighting budget includes fixing up a prisoner van and continuing a crisis team for mental health and addiction calls.
In an interview Monday, McNeely said the Mobile Crisis Rapid Response team has been a boon to the city, and its continuation will funnel those dealing with mental health and addiction issues to people with the right training. These calls make up a large chunk of calls received by police.
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“It doesn’t just always rest squarely on shoulders of the police,” she said.
Kingston police has in the past teamed up with Addiction and Mental Health Services of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (AMHS-KFLA). McNeely said police will also seek partnerships with community agencies like Kingston Community Health Centres to address those dealing with crisis situations.
“That’s why the outreach is so important and community engagement partnering with KCHC and all the other agencies that we’re looking to is going to be so important,” McNeely said.
The budget will be dealt with at Kingston city council next week.
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