OPP service cost estimates are $2.7 million for 2022

Obscenely high and unsustainable policing costs. OPP bills are destroying communities its officers are supposed to protect. Apparent self-interest is cloaked in the guise of public safety needs. Where is the political outrage while OPP costs continue to climb? Who is going to bring policing costs in this province under control?

OPP service cost estimates are $2.7 million for 2022

Postby Thomas » Tue Jul 19, 2022 3:35 am

OPP Sergeant Kelly Withrow presented a cost overview at the June 27 council meeting.

Withrow said OPP services in the province cost a total of $1.21 billion annually with 34% ($412 million) of that budget paid for by the 330 municipalities it services.

The province pays for aircraft enforcement, highway traffic safety, investigations, intelligence and specialized response teams while municipalities are responsible for detachment staff, communication operators, training, regional headquarters, uniforms, vehicles and equipment.

Billing to municipalities is broken down into base service cost of $172.07 per property, calls for service cost and other costs.

Base service includes crime prevention, officer availability, proactive policing, officer training and all inspector and staff sergeant positions. Calls for service include crime calls, motor vehicle accidents, trespassing, mental health, missing person and false alarms. Other costs include overtime, court security, prisoner transportation, cleaning and enhancements.

Withrow said municipalities are only charged for court costs if the municipality has a court facility and cleaning is only charged to municipalities with OPP buildings. An enhancement would be an officer dedicated as school support.

The top 10 offenses in Elliot Lake include assault, assist public, utter threats to person, criminal harassment, neighbour dispute, domestic disturbance, theft under $5,000, mischief, suspicious person and family dispute.

In 2022, Elliot Lake will pay $1.132 million for base service, $1.448 million for calls for service, $121,515 for overtime, $45,007 for court security and $11,250 for prisoner transportation.

The total amount for the year is $2.758 million less a 2020 year-end adjustment of $62,386 for a grand total billing of $2,695,715. In 2018, the cost was $2.98 million.

The average cost per property is $419.23 which is slightly higher than the provincial average of $355.

Councillor Chris Patrie questioned why the city is supplying a building and cleaning as the cost to other municipalities is $4.83 per property or $31,000 a year.

“I would much prefer to not supply you with a building and cleaning services… it costs us way more than that to do it,” he said.

Patrie said the city used to have 17 officers and better response times. The councillor also mentioned past staff vacancies in the area, which caused overtime costs.

“I don’t think we’re getting our bang for the buck.”

Withrow said larger communities usually provide the building for the catchment area, but that it did not have to be provided as local officers could be dispatched from the Blind River office.

She said there are 28 officers assigned to Elliot Lake and there are no staff vacancies. Withrow added that anything that falls under the provincial portion of policing does not mean overtime for the municipality.

Any additional staff for the region would be considered an enhancement and cost $195,000 per year which includes one body, uniform, vehicle and training.

Mayor Dan Marchisella said the issue is not with the OPP but with the justice system that sees criminals arrested and released two days later, only to commit the same crime.

“I personally feel the OPP have to do their job with a hand behind their back.”

He questioned how to curb drug trafficking in the community.

OPP detachment commander Tyler Sturgeon said the number one way to curb drug crime is information sharing.

“We need more of that. Members of public can contact the detachment and Crime Stoppers.”

When asked about the average response time in Elliot Lake, Withrow said the organization did not measure response times.

Sturgeon added that response times in Elliot Lake are quite good as there are always officers in the vicinity.

Patrie asked how many officers are on duty at any given time as some business owners wait 30 minutes for police to respond to an alarm.

The detachment commander said there is no exact number on duty at any given time as this is determined by operational officer on a day-to-day basis.

Patrie said the city is being billed but service is not guaranteed.

“If something happens on the North Shore… officers are pulled from here.”

In other news, the renaming of the cross-country ski trail will not take place as Rejean Cyr has withdrawn his name. Cyr told the city that he’s touched and moved that he was considered but that it would be more fitting for another community member.

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