A year after police station merger, report shows response times in NDG are longer

It's been a year since two police stations in western Montreal merged -- Station 11, serving NDG, and Station 9, serving Cote-St-Luc.

A new report shows that since then, response time for Priority One calls is now 17 per cent longer. That kind of top-urgency call can include situations where there's an immediate danger to someone's life.

Priority Two calls, meanwhile, which can include breaking and entering with a suspect on site, now take 16 per cent longer than they used to.

And Priority Three calls, such as police reports for stolen cars, now take 21 per cent longer than they did when the NDG-Cote-des-Neiges borough had its own police station.

In Cote-St-Luc, the response time actually improved, however, showed the report, which was presented to the city's executive committee Wednesday.

The city maintains that merging the two stations was the right move. 

"The report doesn't show there's a negative impact on the territory," said Alain Vaillancourt, who is in charge of the public security file on the executive committee.

But he quickly added that there are areas to improve, specifically response times.

The political opposition said it's heard that residents are concerned.

"With the report this morning, it really solidifies and gives clarity to the point to which services have been disrupted," said Stephanie Valenzuela, a city councillor for Cote-des-Neiges-NDG.

One former Montreal police commander says other factors could also help explain the change, though, including the pandemic.

"You’re not dispatched by the station, you’re dispatched by 911, and according to a map on who would be the closest to answer," said retired commander Andre Durocher.

"There’s been a lot of resources missing -- there’s been resources reallocated to other stuff."

But the police document that reported the slower response times looked specifically into the merger and the effect it had.

Durocher said that police at least should now explain why response time is lagging in NDG.

"The police, I feel, have a moral obligation, pandemic or not... to explain," he said.

Late Wednesday, Montreal police did respond, saying many factors explain the slower times, including the larger territory, the location of the station, and the current number of construction zones.

"The SPVM intends to continue the analysis of these data in order to better identify the reasons for this increase and to see the possible avenues to improve the response time," Montreal police said in a email to CTV News.

"In addition, as indicated in the report, the SPVM is currently working on a project to distribute calls by proximity in order to improve response times to calls for service throughout the territory of Montreal. The objective of this program is to dispatch the call for service to the patrol vehicle closest to the location requiring an intervention."

Earlier this month, the police chief proposed closing more local stations to cut costs. Mayor Valerie Plante says that so far, there hasn't been an official request to close or merge any others.

Ultimately, Wednesday's report did not recommend reopening Station 11 in NDG.

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