Shelburne mayor 'confident' OPP will serve town well

·3 min read

It was a bittersweet occasion as a new police force will now serve Shelburne.

Shelburne Police Service (SPS), which was first established in 1879, has passed the torch to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

“Today is a day of mixed emotions for me,” said Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills. “On one hand, we are saying goodbye to a proud institution that has served our community with bravery, dignity and compassion for 142 years. On the other hand, I do look to the future with optimism.”

The move was made as a cost-saving measure as SPS wanted more money to continue serving the community.

The OPP has proposed an annual budget of $2.8 million — which includes an extra $400,000 in startup costs in the first year — for the first three years. In comparison, the SPS's net budget is $2.86 million for 2020, which would have increased to $3 million in 2021 and $3.2 million in 2022. All former SPS officers who applied to stay in town with the OPP were retained.

“Each and every one of our Shelburne officers who applied to the OPP was successfully hired, so our community will continue to see many of the familiar faces that we all know and trust,” said Mills.

OPP's Dufferin detachment will provide coverage of calls for service under detachment commander Insp. Terry Ward.

Ward was a front-line sergeant and sergeant operations manager at the Collingwood detachment. Ward is a recipient of a Commissioner's Commendation and a Police Exemplary Service Medal. Mills met Ward and was impressed with his approach to policing.

“I think that we will be able to forge a great working relationship as we move forward,” said Mills. “I know that the OPP is also looking forward to welcoming our Shelburne officers to their ranks.”

Mills said it is fair to place high expectations on the new police authority with a treasured and respected history. OPP officers will attend the provincial police academy in Orillia.

“After their training at OPP academy, our officers will come back home to Shelburne in their new uniforms,” said Mills. “When they do, they will be a part of one of North America’s largest deployed police services with more than 5,800 uniformed officers, 2,400 civilian employees and 830 auxiliary officers. They will also be supported by the tremendous network of resources that the OPP has at its disposal.”

SPS has raised money for Special Olympics through a torch run and polar plunge, and they also held an annual Stuff A Cruiser event where they donated toys to Dufferin Child and Family Services/Salvation Army.

Mills remains confident officers will be well equipped by the OPP and has no concerns about the changeover.

“Change is always difficult, but it isn't something that we should fear,” said Mills. "Certainly, there will be a period of transition over the next little while. Still, I remain confident that our community will continue to get the policing service that we expect and deserve from many of the same officers that we already know and respect.”

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner