January 19, 2023 6:02am
The Chief of the West Grey Police Service says the municipality should better understand the risks associated with switching its police service now that presentations have been made to council.
On Wednesday, both Chief Rob Martin and the Ontario Provincial Police made presentations at a special council meeting regarding the future of policing in the municipality.
“I’m concerned that the delegation from the OPP only provided cost estimates, because those can change” Martin said. “They give you generalities rather then specifics, whereas we were able to provide specifics. Everything’s an estimate, so how can you accurately budget by saying “It may cost you this much” With our service, we know it’s $4,100,000, we work very hard to keep it within that budget, we’ve returned a surplus every year I’ve been Chief, because it’s rate-payer money. It’s not infinite.”
“Cookie-cutter policing doesn’t work” Martin continued, who was concerned that OPP could not promise that uniformed officers would be in West Grey 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Martin also took issue with the comments of Coun. Geoffrey Shea, who is the lone remaining member of council that voted in favour of taking in a costing from the OPP to take over police services in West Grey.
“I found it odd that the member that supported OPP costing would talk about fostering relationships when there is no problem with the relationship between the West Grey Police Service and council. We respond to their needs….I found it to be almost antagonistic saying we don’t have a good relationship, when actually we do. Whatever purpose those comments were meant to make, I found them disturbing and off-base, because we have always had a good relationship. We hope to continue that relationship and have the West Grey Police remain as the police of choice for this community.”
West Grey will take in a presentation from accounting firm MNP on Jan. 19, where they are expected to make recommendations based on information gathered on policing in West Grey, as well as present results of a survey conducted among residents.