District communities pleased with OPP service

Municipalities west of Fort Frances are satisfied with their OPP service provided under 5.1 of the Police Services Act.
Fort Frances OPP S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis, OPP reps from Orillia and regional headquarters in Thunder Bay, and retired Geraldton Mayor Michael Power met with municipal delegates for the annual consultation on OPP services last Wednesday at the Emo Inn.
“The purpose of the consultations is to give the communities [that fall under 5.1] opportunities for input on how the cost would be determined by the Ontario government,” said S/Sgt. Dennis.
“We met to get suggestions and discuss ways to avoid fluctuations in cost,” he added.
The community reps said their overall outlook on the policing services was positive.
“We’re quite satisfied with the service we get from the OPP, and the funding formula at present is as fair as it can get,” said Chapple Reeve Bill Clink.
“We’re satisfied with that and there’s been better communication with the OPP lately,” he added.
Under the Police Services Act, communities have a choice as to how they want to be policed. The OPP has a contract with the Town of Fort Frances, but neighbouring municipalities pay the Ministry of Finance a fee that is contingent on several different variables.
“There’s a formula for determining cost,” explained S/Sgt. Dennis. “It’s based on a large number of factors, including workload and complement [manpower].
“There are provincial averages. It takes about 4.6 hours to investigate a traffic accident,” he noted.
Right now, municipalities are billed annually, but both sides are looking at ways to trim costs.
OPP Supt. Dana Ostrom is preparing a report from the consultation for the deputy commissioner. District councils should have that report by the end of April.