MONTREAL -- The closing of a small police station in NDG and its merger with another station in Côte Saint-Luc has angered the mayors of both boroughs.

The small station, station 11, was located on Somerled Avenue, in NDG. It was meant to promote the idea of community policing: a small station with officers who get to know the community. But two weeks ago, Montreal police officers told borough Mayor Sue Montgomery that station 11 would close.

It's going to merge with station 9 near the corner of Westminster Avenue and Côte Saint-Luc Road, in Côte Saint-Luc. The new command post will grow from 30 to 100 officers.

Montgomery lamented the closing of the station. Smaller community stations are important to establish public trust in police, she said.

"We have a lot of residents that come from countries where they are afraid of the police and are afraid to approach them, and we are beginning to break down those barriers," Montgomery said. "Station 11 was doing a lot of community work that way. The [officers] were coming to a lot of multicultural events in parks and reaching out they have some great community workers."

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein worried that having one station cover a larger geographical area would lead to officers prioritizing neighbourhoods outside of his borough. "We worry that the majority of crime is obviously in NDG, so we will lose coverage here when they have to respond to NDG. There's a lot of concerns," he said.

In a 2018 strategy to prevent racial profiling and connect with the community, Montreal police argued that community stations would help foster a climate of mutual understanding and trust. But the merger of the Côte Saint-Luc and NDG stations was done in the name of efficiency, according to Montreal police spokesperson Andre Durocher.

"By having more concentrated resources like that you're able to better patrol, you have more mobility in terms of a different kind of work you can achieve, so the objective is to have police officers on the road and to patrol the neighbourhood," he said.

Montgomery, however, thinks the merger will negatively affect the community. "I feel it's a cost-cutting measure," she said, "which in the end is probably going to cost us money in terms of social issues and problems in the community."