Mayor Greg Wilson says that the City of Dryden is moving ‘full steam ahead’ towards their decision on the OPP’s costing proposal. After over 23 months of debate, staff are expected to make their decision by the end of May – and potentially – by this Thursday night.

The city will be hosting a special, open committee of the whole meeting on Thursday. It starts at 5 p.m. at City Hall, and is open to the public. The city’s OPP Costing Committee is expected to present their final recommendation to council on whether or not to amalgamate the Dryden Police Service with the OPP.

Mayor Wilson says that the city now has a better understanding of how the community feels about the potential decision - after the results of a public survey on the matter were released earlier this month.

“We’ve heard what the community had to say, or at least a portion of the community that turned out. Now, we have to make sure that we’re able to effectively communicate our individual and collective positions on which way to vote. It’s full steam ahead for us,” said Wilson.

91 per cent of the survey responses were from Dryden residents, with the majority agreeing that police service levels are the most important factor in the decision, over governance or financial concerns. 

47 per cent said that only the DPS would provide sufficient service, with 26 per cent supporting the OPP’s model, 21 per cent saying both models would suffice, and under 1 per cent said they weren’t in support of either policing model.

The OPP say that they would be able to provide 3 to 4 officers in Dryden, and 1 to 2 officers outside of Dryden at any given time. The DPS guarantees a minimum of 2 officers in Dryden, but it’s often more. The DPS is also able to provide by-law, animal control, crossing guard services, a higher response to ambulance calls, court security and prisoner transport services.

When it came to financials, residents once again supported the DPS’ policing model, with over 50 per cent saying that only the costs of the DPS are acceptable. 28 per cent supported the OPP, and 11 per cent supporting both policing models.

The Dryden Police Service's budget is estimated to be roughly $4 million. The OPP listed their 2019 costs as:

Base cost - $4,754,600 
Uniform, equipment, vehicles - $663,067 
Start-up costs - $305,000
Severance fees – anywhere between $915,00 - $4,256,480 – estimated at $2,070,400 

Estimated total 2019 costs - $7,793,067

The city has until May 28, 2019 to present their decision to the OPP, or the proposal will be scrapped.

The decision to pursue an OPP Costing Proposal was made in June of 2017, following a unanimous decision by city council. A Police Costing Committee – consisting of councillors, city staff, a member of the public, a member of the police services board and the Chief of Police, Doug Palson, has been meeting monthly since September of 2017.

For more information:
Survey results support DPS
Community’s voice heard at OPP costing consultation