Citizens continue fight to keep Brockville Police

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV
Citizens continue fight to keep Brockville Police

Brockville – Each person in this room has a reason why they want to keep Brockville’s 184 year-old municipal police force.

Allan Murray Johnson:
“These people are very community minded. I think that they handle calls very well. I think that they are people that are dedicated to their job.”

Residents gathered for a public information session hosted by C.O.P.S, a community group working to prevent the local force from being disbanded. The city is studying whether a switch to the OPP is cheaper. Last week, councillors got more facts on the table — when the provincial force explained the billing model for the 323 municipalities it patrols.

Cec Drake/Chair, C.O.P.S.
“We just feel that the OPP model which is a rural model doesn’t fit with a city like Brockville.”

Many raised concerns about the quality of service that could be offered by the OPP –including response times, costs and the potential loss of community policing programs.

Jane Guthrie/Concerned Resident:
“It’s not that I think the OPP don’t do a good job. But I don’t know if they’re going to be able to have the consistent patrolling and be a visible presence.”

The meeting almost sounded like a ‘love in’ for the local police department.

Allan Murray Johnson:
“In my position, you’re getting chocolate cake. You’re getting the best.”

Since the OPP costing process began, the city’s top cop has responded by slashing the tax-funded police budget by 1.2 million dollars, bucking the trend of rising costs.

Cec Drake/Chairman, C.O.P.S:
“We should be building on that. Not trying to destroy it.”

While residents rally behind their force –the next step for the ad hoc committee weighing the pros and cons of switching badges is to learn about the experience of other communities — including Orillia and Pembroke. A final cost estimate will be presented in October… giving council 6 months to decide whether to crime fighting should remain in house, or contracted out.

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