There is more to policing than money
by Sandy Lindsay
September 26, 2016
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Art Knechtel Deputation:
Art Knechtel, former Mayor of Southampton, once again came before Saugeen Shores Council regarding the possibility of switching from local municipal policing to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) service.
Knechtel reiterated that he feels it would be cost effective to follow through with the change.
"They have the most up to date equipment in the world ... a plane, helicopter, sonar and boats. I feel that our family of police would be well looked after. All I am doing is asking for an investigation into costing."
Knechtel said that he feels he has been misunderstood. "I pointed out to Chief Dan Rivett that I was on a different route than him. What would happen to the present police force, their kids, their families ... would they be all upset? Would they be hired on?" (going with OPP).
He said that he had spent most of the summer doing a lot of research on the topic and, according to Knechtel, they would be absorbed into the 'new' police force and the town would still see the same friendly officers serving as well as they did in the past.
It is written in the OPP model however, that police officers are required to go where needed. In addition, the service has no requirement for municipal officers or community involvement.
According to Knechtel, local police if absorbed would benefit with better wages, excellent benefits, better pensions and the most up to date equipment in the world. With a crisis situation however, the OPP and other services, such as the Coast Guard, are called upon and respond, in a one-time situation.
Knechtel said he felt the municipality would benefit from reduced costs compared policing to Kincardine's OPP coverage, whom he felt might have saved ..."one wagon load of money over 20 years."
"Let's look at a new build," said Knechtel. "Would they need a new build? I don't know, nobody does. Take a look ... they are in Kincardine, Walkerton, Chatsworth, Wiarton." (all in new builds). It has been indicated that with each new OPP detachment a new build has been required at an average cost of $6 - $7 million.
Knechtel went on to say that local municipal police services in the province are down to eight. (actually the number is 15 in communities with 'comparable' populations to Saugeen Shores ... the total overall is 53)
"The day of municipal policing is over," he said. "You can flog a dead horse as much as you want but you won't get any reaction. Some things in life you have to accept. You have to accept the things you cannot change, change the things we can and have the wisdom to know the difference."
He then told Council that they have the "... golden key to open the door and are the only ones to ask for a costing from the OPP and if they don't they are acting irresponsibly".
He added that there are many municipalities trying to do the same thing (change to OPP).
In fact, according to sources, there are many municipalities that are trying to go back to municipal policing.
Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau
Look at the Bluewater School Board. It is talking about an accommodation review of local schools for closure. There was a time when we had strong local municipal control of our schools ... a time when schools raised taxes and directly controlled the schools and determined how they would operate and that went out the window almost 20 years ago. When that control was taken away and sent down to the folks on University Avenue (Toronto), how has that worked out today? How has that worked out for the people of Paisley, Chesley, Markdale, OSCVI in Owen Sound, Derby, Bruce Central ... and how do you think that's going to work out in Southampton?
That's what happens when we take strong
municipal institutions and give that control to the folks on
University Avenue and they take University Avenue ideas and
solutions and try to apply them on High Street (Southampton) or
Gustavus Street (Port Elgin) or County Road 3 (Saugeen Township).
It just doesn't work.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016