Perth Police Service disbands as OPP takes over
The town of Perth, Ont., made the official switch today from their own local police force to the Ontario Provincial Police.
Thirteen members of the now disbanded Perth Police Service were sworn in Saturday as the newest members of the Lanark County OPP.
Perth had its own police force for more than 162 years but mayor John Fenik said the cost to run the local force was too much for the community.
The move will save Perth about $750,000 a year in policing costs, said Fenik. He said it will also improve policing in the area.
"Our current force is 15 sworn officers, that's the chief and deputy chief included, [while] the OPP have a human resources base in the area to draw from about 85 officers," he said.
Lanark County OPP commander Gerry Salisbury said citizens won't notice much of a difference.
"The same officers that have been patrolling the town as Perth police officers will be patrolling the town as OPP officers," said Salisbury.
Concerns about cost oversight
Only one councillor, Jim Graff, voted no to the change when it came before town council in November.
He said Friday he had concerns about losing financial oversight of the police budget, since OPP budgets are set by the province and not the municipalities in which the service operates.
Graff says he hopes those concerns will prove unfounded.
"We're giving up complete control of what our costing is going to be — that is a huge concern for me. It's going to be the provincial government that's going to determine that now, not our police services board and police chief," said Graff.