In response to a request from the Town of South Bruce Peninsula to consider Saugeen Shores providing policing services to South Bruce Peninsula, a proposal has been developed by Saugeen Shores Police Service (SSPS).
The SSPS would replace the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) as the primary police service provider in South Bruce Peninsula, with costs to be paid by South Bruce Peninsula taxpayers. Saugeen Shores Chief of Police, Mike Bellai, developed the proposal, which has the support of the Saugeen Shores Police Services Board but definitely not the support of the Vice-Deputy Mayor, Mike Myatt.
At the meeting of Council on Monday, January 13th, Myatt expressed his concerns saying that he is adamantly against the proposal. “We are expected to grow to 20,000 residents over the next 10 years. In 2016, the Police Services Board spearheaded a ‘customer satisfaction’ survey and 400 residents responded saying overwhelmingly that they were very satisfied with the local police service. In my view, offering police services to other municipalities ‘spreads the paint too thin’. Our taxpayers spend over $4,021,78 on community policing representing almost 30 per cent of our Operations budget.”
“Do we really want to expand our territory to save approximately $50,000/$60,000? Is this what our Saugeen Shores residents want? Do they want our Police Chief and Inspector out spending 20 percent of their time on South Bruce policing issues? We have one of, if not ‘the’ best police forces in Ontario … so, what’s broken? Why would we want to assume more responsibility for a much larger territory? asked Myatt.
“I ask all of Council … what is broken with our current policing system? Our residents consistently report they are happy with their local police force. I was told that our officers would have to travel 35 to 40 minutes to carry out their duties and then back again to police headquarters to complete paperwork. Really? What happens to North Bruce Peninsula if South Bruce Peninsula comes our way? In emergencies, Saugeen Shores Police can reach out to the OPP for air support, canine support, emergency response and tactic and rescue teams. Our residents bought into a new $6.5 million new police building and I find it mystifying that we may have to expand our brand new building in the next 10 to 15 years. Whey would we want Saugeen Shores taxpayers to have this responsibility? We built that building for the next 20 to 40 years. This is a very important decision that we are making. I do not want to entertain the thought that we may have to expand this building again. I don’t get this. Our residents are paying for our local police force and paying dearly for our new police building. Our residents do not deserve this and I am adamantly opposed to this move and will be voting against any motion that comes forth in the future. We need to re-think this.”
According to the draft proposal, any contract for police services entered into between the municipality of South Bruce Peninsula and the Saugeen Shores Police Services Board, with approval of Saugeen Shores Town Council, will be for a period of Twenty (20) years.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau however, said that, “This proposal is an early first step to see whether it would be feasible for the SSPS to lead policing services in South Bruce Peninsula. “Both councils, along with other stakeholders, will thoroughly review the proposal in the coming months.”
Until signed, the proposal is non-binding and would require a formal agreement to be created and approved. The full document is available … CLICK HERE