Midland Police Senior Officer Speaks About OPP Costing Process
Those of your who follow Midland Police Inspector Ron Wheeldon’s (President of the Midland Police Service Senior Officers Association) twitter feed know that he is very active on social media with crime prevention tips along with having launched a retweeting campaign for police-based news and crime alerts. Council’s decision to engage in an OPP costing process to see if the OPP could provide policing to Midland and save the +/- $800,000 per year identified in the now infamous KPMG report has been the subject of many articles as we try to explore the ramifications of disbanding our century-old local police service in favour of a contracted arrangement with the Province.
Inspector Wheeldon, who was recently awarded a prestigious medal for bravery, and whose twitter messages (much like ours) are aimed to dispel myths and fiction related to many public safety issues, has sent the following message to many of his online followers in the hopes that a better-educated public will help guide our Council to a fact-based decision that is best for the community.
Accordingly, we have published that message below, and it reads:
“As you may know, the town of Midland is exercising it’s right to ask for a costing of the Ontario Provincial Police. If successful, the Town of Midland will disband its Police Service and adopt the Ontario Provincial Police, as its Policing option.
As such, they will implement an INTEGRATED MODEL of Policing. What this means is that Midland will become a zone of the larger catchment area of Southern Georgian Bay OPP, including Penetanguishene, Tay, Tiny and part of Georgian Bay Township.
The drawback is that if another community such as Penetanguishene, Tay, Tiny or Georgian Bay Township have an emergency, they can/will utilize the police units assigned to Midland to attend and respond outside of Midland.
This will temporarily leave Midland without Police coverage until they can pull resource from another detachment area to cover that gap.
Midland Police Service has a STAND ALONE policing model. What this means is that we are on staff, dedicated to the Town of Midland 24/7 – with an average response time of 3 minutes and 40 seconds to a priority call.
Contrary to popular belief, OPP resources, such as Helicopter, K-9, Dive Unit, Major Case Management are paid for by your provincial tax dollars.
So, you have the benefits of a highly cost efficient/effective STAND ALONE Police Service with Midland Police Service, with all the benefits of those provincial services at no extra charge.
Midland Police Service is governed by a Section 31 Police Services Board, constructed of Municipal appointees and Provincial appointees. What this means is your community has the ability to have a say in how the Town is Policed by setting priorities on what is important to the community. The board has the ability to negotiate with the labour groups within the Midland Police Service to keep an element of control over costs.
The OPP have what is referred to as an advisory board, or Section 10 as would be the case if OPP is selected to Police Midland.
What this means is that, they do not have a section 31 board, you are not able to negotiate salaries and benefits with the advisory board, and you do not have the level of input as to how the community is policed, as you do with your current section 31 Police Services Board. (Loss of local control)
What I would ask, is that you make yourself aware of the issues that face Policing in the Town of Midland.
Make sure you know the facts, and that apples are being compared to apples.
We will respect the decision made by the Town of Midland regardless of the outcome, but you should know what you will potentially lose as a result of an INTEGRATED OPP Policing option vs. The Current STAND ALONE policing option you have with Midland Police Service.
Ask the right questions:
- What is the OPP response time to a priority call?
- Will OPP guarantee a minimum number of officers in the Town of Midland at all times? (Midland Police Service have three or more)
- What will Policing costs be after the first three years of the OPP interim contract?
- How much foot patrol will be conducted in high visibility hours? (This is tracked in hours by Midland Police Service)
- How much enforcement will be conducted to keep our roads safe? (This is tracked in offence notices and cautions by Midland Police Service)
- How many hours of RIDE will be conducted? (This is tracked in hours by Midland Police Service)
- What will it cost to disband the Midland Police Service?
- What will the cost of OPP policing be in “year four” after an initial three year interim contract is signed?
These are just a few of many examples of questions to be asked which are relative to the nature and quality of response to Midland priorities .
Talk about it, ask the questions, be aware and spread the word.
Thank you for listening.”
Ron Wheeldon – President Midland Police Senior Officers Association