Thunder Bay·Audio

Dryden Police officers associations react to OPP costing

One of the groups representing officers with the Dryden Police Service hopes Dryden, Ont., city council will drop its costing inquiry with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

OPP would cost more, require more officers to police City of Dryden

Associations representing officers with the Dryden Police Service hope city council will back away from a proposal by the OPP to take over policing in the city. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

One of the groups representing officers with the Dryden Police Service hopes Dryden, Ont., city council will drop its costing inquiry with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Dryden city council heard at a special meeting on Wednesday about the cost of switching from its own municipal service, the Dryden Police Service, to the OPP. The capital costs to switch services would be over $600,000, with many other costs, like severance, unknown.

"I don't think anyone was really expecting the numbers to be so substantially higher," said Ann Tkachyk, the President of the Dryden Police Senior Officers Association. 

The groups representing police officers in Dryden are speaking out about the cost of policing, if the OPP were to take over the city. Ann Tkachyk is the President of the Dryden Police Senior Officers Association. 6:36

There are other additional costs to using the OPP as opposed to the local force, many of which would be realized in the first year, she said, amounting to an additional $1.4 million in the first year. 

OPP said for the first year, it would charge Dryden $5.4M for policing. The figure would drop to $4.7M the year after. However, policing costs after the first three years would be billed using data from the transitional phase, when OPP take over.

The Dryden Police Service budget for 2018 is $3.9M. 

Council will decide how to proceed, she said. 

"We don't know if they're going to continue this process, or if there's going to be a discussion ... the numbers are higher, and we're [either] going to abandon the process or just choose to get on with business."

She said the Dryden Police Service has 20 officers, while the OPP proposes providing the same service with 24.

Community support

Tkachyk said the local force also provides community support that the OPP cannot.

"It's very, very rare that we say no to anybody. Whether it's helping to lead an event, whether it's organizing the event, or whether it's taking a smaller role, we pride ourselves on allowing ourselves and our partners to support other community events."

"We want to continue to be engrained in this community, and provide some of the best crime prevention programs that are available."

Tkachyk said the association plans to make additional presentations to city council, and ensure its position is heard.

"The coat drive, stuff-a-cruiser, kids n' cops fishing, seniors n' cops fishing. These are all innovative ideas that, most of them, many of them have been innovative ideas right from our own service, and we're proud of that."

Scott Silver, the President of the Dryden Police Association, said the Dryden Police Service provides a good service for a better price than the OPP has offered.

He said the association has concerns about members getting jobs if the local force is disbanded, as the services aren't amalgamated. Officers would have to reapply for jobs with the OPP.

Mayor Greg Wilson said council could determine rather quickly if it wants to abandon the costing process, and stick with the Dryden Police Service. Wilson figured that could happen within a month.

Dryden city council has until the end of May to decide if it wants to accept the OPP costing.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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