Mayor, Principal talk police costs

Daniel Woolf to consider recompensating City for homecoming street parties

The City is in talks with the University over repaying policing costs.
The City is in talks with the University over repaying policing costs.
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Mayor Mark Gerretsen met with Principal Woolf this Tuesday to discuss compensation for Homecoming policing expenses, which Gerretsen estimates at $150,000.

Gerretsen has been calling for Queen's to pay for city policing costs since the first Homecoming weekend, which saw hundreds of party-goers gather on Aberdeen St., and resulted in 16 arrests and 133 alcohol-related tickets.

During the second weekend, which saw heavy rain, police made only four arrests and issued 16 tickets.

Principal Woolf said that he found the meeting productive, and he is considering the mayor's request for compensation.

However, he said, no decisions concerning policing costs or future Homecomings will be made until he consults with stakeholders over the coming weeks.

“I plan to speak further with City officials, Kingston Police, the Police Services Board, students and other stakeholders on this,” he told the Journal via email. Gerretsen said the meeting was “cordial” and he was satisfied with the outcome.

“We were both able to express our concerns and our interest in moving forward,” he said. “I think it was a well-received meeting.”

Gerretsen said Principal Woolf wasn’t averse to the idea of contributing to policing costs, but needed more time to think about it during consultations.

Each weekend cost the City $75,000 in police overtime costs, he said, so the University should compensate the city a total of $150,000.

He said both weekends induced the same costs for the City, since the city had officers on standby on the second weekend.

“Regardless of the turnout on the street, we had the same number of officers on duty and ready to go,” he said.

The City saved some money by sending officers home early, but not by much, he said.

Gerretsen said he stands by his initial claim, which he believes is not unreasonable.

“It’s not trend-setting, it’s something we’ve seen in other municipalities, such as Peterborough,” he said. He said Trent University compensates Peterborough for policing expenses during the Head of the Trent weekend festival, an event which is similar to Homecoming.

Because it isn’t unprecedented, he said, he is optimistic about getting compensation for the weekend.

“[It’s] what taxpayers have been asking for all along,” he said, “so I’m confident that the Principal will make the right decision.”

Principal Woolf said he would contact Gerretsen in a few weeks, the mayor said, before making the decision public.

“He said it would be a few weeks, about two to three weeks in my understanding,” Gerretsen said.

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