For a number of years now, the Midland Police Service has been under fire from within and outside Town Hall because their costs were seen as being out of control. Time and again, the police chiefs of the day defended their budgets as being fair; it mostly fell on deaf ears.
Then, KPMG, in its last operational review, suggested that Midland could save as much as $750,000 on policing if they were to switch to the OPP. The only problem with this suggestion was, it was never based on real numbers, was never costed. It was just an “estimate” that caught the attention of some who have been promoting that the OPP could do the same job for less money.
Finally, the long anticipated numbers are in. They show that if the OPP were to provide the services we have been receiving from the Midland Police Service, we would be paying more. What many residents expected to happen at this point was an acknowledgment that we are getting good value for our policing dollars. Some expected that the process would end and save the $75,000 on consulting fees, do the same thing other municipalities have done. However, this is not happening; the process will keep going on and so will the costs.
Experts have already stated that the only way Midland’s policing budget can be lowered is by reducing the Level of Service. Does Midland need community policing that is designed for and responsive to the needs of this community, or are we going to settle with the “one size fits all” model? Community Policing may be costly and labour intensive, but it produces good outcomes and there are creative ways to keep the costs down, as we have seen first hand.
The Midland Police Service has an established record of over 100 years of excellent service to this community. Perhaps, it is time to put an end to the uncertainty, stop the unnecessary spending and support our local police so that they can continue to provide the quality of service they have delivered all along.