Changes to OPP Billing Model Causing Concern in Tecumseh

AM800-NEWS-Tecumseh-mayor-Gary-McNamara-June-24-2019

There's confusion over policing costs in the Town of Tecumseh.

The OPP made a presentation to council Tuesday night on changes to its billing model which will now be based on a base service cost, plus the number of calls for service rather than the number of officers in the municipality.

Since the change in 2014, policing costs have been going down — residents will pay $348 per household in 2019 compared to $495 five years ago, but mayor Gary McNamara says an upcoming revamp of the Police Services Act has left council with more questions than answers.

He says the town's contract with the OPP expires in mid-2020 and he's not sure what policing will look like after that.

"When the contract comes for renewal next year, there's going to be far more input from council and administration to really get into the agreement itself because I'm a firm believer that the devil is in the details," says Mayor McNamara. "I think what we need to do is to have a greater understanding of how the billing model really works." 

He says he's worried Tecumseh could be paying for officers that aren't actually in the town.

"Before, I used to know how many dedicated officers I had. I could reconcile all of that for basic policing, the foot patrol, the bike patrol, going into parks, putting radar out, that proactive piece. Now with the deployment, if they're moving officers out, then something has got to give," he says. 

Maintaining the current level of service will be priority one according to Mayor McNamara.

Tecumseh will pay $3.6-million for policing this year — that's down from $5.8-million in 2014.

Locally, Tecumseh, Essex, Lakeshore, Kingsville and Leamington use the OPP to police their communities.