The Dryden City Police will be replaced by the Ontario Provincial Police as per last night's city council meeting.
Dryden city council voted 6-1 in favor of the Ontario Provincial Police take over policing in the City of Dryden.
Each council member explained their reasoning behind the decision in a very emotional affair.
Mayor Greg Wilson explained his perspective on the police change.
"This represents an annual overall savings to the city of between $1 million to $1.5 million per year after 2024. There will be one seamless service as opposed to two we currently have, which is historically proven to be easier for police to prevent and respond to crimes in town and justifies relocating more police specialists and officers to our community. Combining most if not all Dryden Police Officers and staff with OPP makes us stronger as a community, not weaker,” said Wilson
Wilson went on to say that the community does not want to lose its identity due to this change.
Councilor Norm Bush presented his comments.
“It's undeniable that Dryden has the highest cost of policing per capita and per property in the region, if not the province. In our CAO staff report shows that Dryden's cost per property is $1,045 per property. The average of the five benchmark communities supported by the OPP is $583 per property. Dryden’s cost per property for policing is a 78 per cent higher average than these communities,”
“An increase of 3 to 6 sworn officers patrolling our streets over our current police force. Over a million dollars a year in ongoing cost savings to our municipality starting in year four. Having the benefit of having a unified commander coordinating law enforcement activities both in our community and the area. When I look at that I have no choice but to vote to accept the OPP costing proposal,” added Bush
The only vote against was from former DPS Chief, councilor Shayne McKinnon. In 2017 the vote was 6-1 in favor of keeping the Dryden Police Service in place. McKinnon showed his frustration last night.
“The OPP proposal does come with an absolute guarantee and that is that Dryden will lose its police service. Once a community converts to an OPP they can never go back. This is a forever decision, its too costly to start back up,” said Mckinnon
“We have a wonderful police force. Dedicated. They do the best they possibly can with the resources we provide them with. With the coin, we provide them with. But we’ve reached a point where we cannot provide them with the resources that they need,” added Mckinnon
Councilor Michelle Price noted that the MNP report was very disturbing to know that Dryden has the highest crime rate in Ontario, the lowest rate of crimes solved, and the highest cost per household.
Overall, it looks like the OPP will cost Dryden over $8.5 million after transition costs, but the city could see savings 8 years and 15 years after the transition, while the Dryden Police Service’s costs are listed at just over $4 million, but are expected to continue to increase at a higher rate.