Leamington Council Votes to Terminate Contract with OPP
Leamington will be giving notice to the OPP it will be terminating its contract with the police service in one year.
Mayor Hilda MacDonald says complaints from residents about the level of service have been piling up and she had no choice but to make the motion to explore other options.
Leamington currently spends $5.4-million a year on policing representing about 18% of the town's tax base, but MacDonald believes that money could be better spent.
She says the town doesn't have access to information as simple as how many officers are on the road.
"There is no accountability. They are treating us not like they're our customer. We are paying them over $5-million and we are getting poor service. It's due diligence. We need to show to our people we can get better."
MacDonald says she has asked for an enhancement in service, but been told no.
"I'm doing everything I can and they sit idly by and tell me they're not doing anything different. How can I, as a mayor and as a council member, keep taking this stuff without pushing back? This is enough. We don't like your service. Offer us something better or we're going elsewhere."
Leamington mayor Hilda MacDonald discussing the removal of a courtesy crossing on Erie St. near Highbury Canco on April 24, 2019 (Photo courtesy of CTV Windsor)
She says the community wants a change as well.
"I'm passionate about this because our people are telling us we are not getting what we want for our money. They don't even respect us enough to tell us what we're paying for. All they do is give us the bill and when we ask they cross their arms and say we're not telling you."
The town will now send out requests for interest to neighbouring police services.
MacDonald says Leamington staff also plans to meet with Amherstburg staff to go over how it went about changing police services last year.
It's important to note, even if a new police service is not in place by the termination date of June 10, 2021, the OPP would continue to police Leamington under section 5.1 of the Police Services Act.