‘Threat assessment’ prompts police to attend public hearing

By Scott Costen

Two uniformed police officers were in council chambers this morning for a public hearing into Eastlink’s proposed construction of a telecommunications tower on Meadow Pond Lane in Liverpool.

During his opening remarks, Mayor David Dagley drew the public gallery’s attention to the presence of the two RCMP members, including Queens District acting commander Cpl John Harris.

Dagley did not explain their presence, but they appeared to be there to keep the peace. As it turned out, there were no disturbances and police left as soon as the hearing concluded.

Cpl John Harris is seen standing at the back of council chambers during the public hearing. No disturbances occurred during the meeting. (Queens Observer)

Prior to the hearing, Harris told the Observer he and his colleague were there based on a “risk assessment” he had conducted after hearing “rumours” in the community. He said police attendance was the result of a “collaborative decision” made with municipal officials.

Speaking to reporters after the public hearing, Dagley explained: “In view of the large number of turnout [sic] we expected for the public hearing, and in view of the comments and such that circulated in the community, it’s helpful to have some protocol ensured at our meetings — not that it’s required, but it’s certainly a good sign that we expect respectful communication.”

Another RCMP member was posted near the door to council chambers during the public hearing. (Queens Observer)

The Observer is unaware of the “comments and such” referenced by Dagley and he declined to provide more details about them.

He also refused to respond when asked if council had requested police attendance. “That is a question you will discuss with (RCMP) because I have no comment on that issue.”

NOTE: The Observer will publish a full report on the public hearing later.