Windsor

Leamington officials discussing alternative to OPP

Leamington's police services board met with a consultant Thursday to discuss options to replace the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) as the town's municipal law enforcement service provider. 

The town's contract with the OPP expires in December

Leamington's contract with the OPP expires in December 2019. (Samantha Samson/CBC)

Leamington, Ont. officials met with a consultant Thursday to discuss options to replace the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) as the town's municipal law enforcement service provider. 

The town's contract with the OPP expires in December.

Mayor Hilda MacDonald said discussions are still in their early stages, adding that she wants to give the OPP an opportunity to prove it's willing to meet the town's law enforcement needs. 

MacDonald said central to municipal needs is a full complement of officers stationed within the town as often as possible. The current complement of six OPP officers can be called out of Leamington to attend to nearby communities, sometimes leaving Leamington with one officer at a time. 

According to a report submitted to council by MPM Consulting's Mike Mitchell — who has worked with a number of Ontario communities, including Amherstburg and Sarnia, looking to redesign their law enforcement options — Leamington is also considering contracting police services from nearby municipalities. 

MacDonald said re-establishing a formal Leamington police force is also an option, though she added "that's an impossibility."

"Ideologically, that's great, but the time and the money that that would cost makes it terribly impractical," said MacDonald.

Leamington hasn't had its own formal police force since 2010, with council at the time voting to transfer police services to the OPP. 

MacDonald said council is still ironing out its options, with reports expected to arrive throughout the rest of the year. 

She expects a letter will be sent to the Minister of the Solicitor General Friday, "asking that we be connected with the people at the top so that we could have a conversation and see if they are interested in any kind of change to the model."

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