Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Approves Dissolution of OPS | bloginfo(‘name’); ?>

May 29, 2020 0 comments

By Mike Baker

After months of review, the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OPCP) has approved the City’s request to disband the Orangeville Police Service (OPS).

Reports emerged Monday (May 25) that the provincial body had approved the disbandment, a move that now officially ends the OPS’ 156-year mandate to provide policing services in Orangeville. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is expected to take over policing in the community on October 1.

The OCPC decision, dated May 22, states that under the proposal, “adequate and effective policing will be maintained for Orangeville residents through the transition to the OPP.”

Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown, who first tabled a motion asking the local council to consider transitioning its police services to the OPP in December 2018, said it was good news for the city as it tried to push through change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an important step in the transition to the OPP and future cost savings for the City,” said Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown. “My understanding is that the OPP has collected data, applications and resumes from (current Orangeville) police officers who wish to transition to the OPP . I believe 33 of the 42 OPS officers applied. Now that this approval has been given, the OPP can begin making offers to agents.

All officers receiving offers from the OPP are expected to begin a four-week provincial force source training course in Orillia in early October. During this time, other out-of-town OPP members will police Orangeville. The city hopes that officer training will be completed by Oct. 30.

“It’s called experienced officer training. That’s how the OPP does things,” said Mayor Brown. “There will likely be different ways of communicating, and other OPP rules and regulations that our OPS officers will need to learn.”

It has now been five months since a majority of the Orangeville council, by a 6-1 vote, decided to disband the OPS in favor of adopting an OPP-managed policing model. It is estimated that the City will save up to $58 million by 2036 by switching to provincial strength. A significant portion of those projected savings, Mayor Brown told the Citizen on Monday, stems from the transfer of local dispatch services to OPP headquarters.

Engineers have been busy working on the design phase of proposed upgrades to the existing Orangeville Police Station, located on C-Line. During their initial presentation to the City in early 2019, OPP staff indicated that the facility would need approximately $1.2 million in renovations to bring it up to the standards required by the force. In total, the City is expected to pay approximately $7.5 million in one-time transition costs this year, covering renovations, OPS staff severance, and the purchase of new equipment and vehicles for the OPP. ‘Ontario.

It is likely that most of these costs will be covered by municipal reserves. As noted in the City’s 2020 budget document, the municipality currently had nearly $47 million in total reserve funds at the start of the year. Approximately $16.1 million has been set aside in the discretionary fund, which means the money can be spent on projects as directed by the Board. An additional $17.8 million is in the municipality’s required reserves, i.e. funds earmarked for specific projects or purposes, and $12.9 million in water reserves/ waste water, for water and waste water projects. It is not currently known what impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on municipal reserves.

In a previous report to Council in November, Orangeville Chief Executive Ed Brennan said any money taken from municipal reserves would be replenished over a five-year period. A consultant hired by the city to deepen the finances of the OPS and OPP predicted that by 2024, the municipality would save an average of $4.66 million per year by switching to the provincial force.

Mayor Brown expects the City to be able to issue a request for proposals (RFP), which will give construction companies the opportunity to bid on the police station completion contract, within next two weeks.

“COVID-19 has not impacted our timelines regarding this transition,” Mayor Brown said. “We expect to complete the process by October 1.”

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