Springwater to have say in what the OPP does in the community

·2 min read

New legislation will give municipalities a say in what the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) do in their communities.

The Ontario government passed the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act last year and, in doing so, established the Community Safety and Policing Act (CSPA).

In keeping with CSPA’s requirements, Springwater council determined how it would structure its detachment board for the OPP’s Huronia West detachment, in co-operation with Clearview and Wasaga Beach townships.

There were seven regional roundtable discussions hosted across the province last year, one of which was held in Orillia and attended by Springwater Mayor Don Allen and chief administrative officer Jeff Schmidt.

“There was the feeling in the municipalities that the old system of whether you were on contract with the police or whether you had a community service board was just was too ambiguous,” said Allen. “The municipalities felt they didn’t have enough input into the policing in their areas. So this is trying to improve that.

“I think the organization of a committee that is going to have better communication with the municipalities and the residents through their representative and the police will hopefully get better relations and better service.”

Based on roundtable discussion feedback, the provincial government determined that each OPP detachment would have its own civilian oversight board, replacing the current Community Policing Advisory Committee (CPAC) that currently exists in this region.

The OPP serves 326 municipalities across the province, with only 148 currently having civilian governance. There are 178 municipalities that don’t have CPAC boards with civilian oversight.

The provincial mandate states that the new detachment board must consist of a minimum of five members and hold 20 per cent community representation and 20 per cent provincial appointees.

“As of the April 7 council meeting when this was discussed, council was in support of a board size consisting of 12 members,” said Schmidt.

In conjunction with Wasaga Beach and Clearview, Springwater voted to have two municipal representatives from each municipality (six in total) and one community representative from each municipality (three in total).

The final three members would be provincial appointees, said Schmidt.

The CSPA detachment board will oversee additional OPP responsibilities, such as community safety and well-being plans adopted by the municipality, establish local policies and ensure that local action plans are addressed.

Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance