It is no secret that the cost of policing across Canada is rising, $13 billion last year was the grand total. Salaries consumed a good three-quarters of the billions, bells and whistles the remainder: body cameras, updated equipment, training, new cruisers and more.
However, our police force consumes just over a quarter of Midland’s budget, not 50 percent as some believe. A move to OPP doesn’t mean when all the contracts are reviewed, that savings won’t be show stoppers….especially if down the road HQ wants the town to build a new police complex as was the case in Parry Sound, Collingwood and Orillia when they went OPP.
With cost recoverables built-in so the town will have to pay for specialized services: helicopter, marine unit, K-9, tactical, identification services, prisoner transport, even a costly murder investigation, Midland will probably find itself in the red before the next municipal election.
However, in local politics where father knows best, it is out of ratepayers hands whether or not Midland goes OPP…this council seems to have a knack of often going deaf/blind when it comes to petitions, other points of view or an honest well researched suggestion.
Time will tell in which direction policing will go this decade here at the Gateway to the 30,000 Islands. As for this writer, the first ever chairman of our police services board, under Police Chief Larry Hembruff, we have seen this movie before. Back then it wasn’t “empire building” but a wise money-saving idea to twin Midland and Penetanguishene police forces. Sadly back then the idea received a thumbs down from Penetang, a town that now combines bus services and fire chief et al.