OPP amalgamation will lead to enhanced services on Manitoulin

MINDEMOYA—With the amalgamation of the Espanola OPP and the Manitoulin detachment of the OPP Island services are going to be enhanced, says a local OPP official.

“Your services (on Manitoulin Island) will be enhanced (with this amalgamation),” stated Kevin Webb, staff sergeant-detachment commander of the Manitoulin detachment of the OPP told members of the Manitoulin Community Police Advisory Committee (CPAC), last week. He noted that, “there will be more people (officers) that we can draw on to provide services.”

Staff Sergeant Webb told the meeting that the OPP is always looking at efficiencies and doing its job better. A recent review of OPP detachments in the North East Region, looking into efficiencies and reinvestment led to the OPP operationally realigning Espanola with the Manitoulin OPP detachment. “My thought is always looking at being proactive in preventing crime. We’re always looking at that and the costs to provide the services we do,” noting as well, over the “last three years the majority of municipalities have seen a increase in policing costs.”

With the amalgamation of Espanola into the Manitoulin detachment, “we’ve been looking to complement each other, and ways that we can help each other. There will be efficiencies recognized by municipalities on Manitoulin.  We will have more people available-working at our busiest times, which are late morning to early evening (and less overlap of officers going from a day to night shift),” Staff Sgt. Webb told the meeting. “Officer safety and public safety and fiscally being responsible are our main priority.”

As for the realignment, “this process is going smoothly and everything is coming into line,” stated Staff Sgt. Webb. “The plan is that I will take over (staff sergeant-detachment commander) operations (of the new aligned OPP detachment) as of April 4.”

“I don’t anticipate any negatives for Manitoulin Island,” said Staff Sgt. Webb. “There will be a full complement of 45 uniformed officers, with our 27 on Manitoulin and Espanola with 18.”

“Will we see officers from off-Island assisting here and vice versa?” asked CPAC member Wayne Bailey.

“We will become one detachment, but it won’t happen very often that officers for instance from Espanola will be working on the Island, only when necessary,” said Staff Stg. Webb. “Where there will be crossover is in regards to specialized units, and the community service officers and court officers will be helping each other out. But there will not be much crossover.”

OPP court services will remain the same. “Manitoulin Island will be the administrative centre,” he added.