The Township of Douro-Dummer’s contract with the Ontario Provincial Police expired in December, and the township is now asking the City of Peterborough if it would be willing to provide a cost estimate on having city police patrol the township for the next four years.
“I think the reason why I believe townships are looking for a costing is because No. 1, they are looking for savings to their taxpayers — and they’ve been very pleased with the service provided by Peterborough Police Service — but there’s no question dollars are tight,” said Gary Baldwin, chair of the Peterborough Police Board.
The mayor of Douro-Dummer Township, J. Murray Jones, says the goal is to save some money but that at this point, the request is in its early stages.
“We simply asked Peterborough for the idea: are you prepared to give us a pricing? Because it’s a big job. I mean, we aren’t that naive to think they can just get on the phone and give us a number,” said Jones.
Currently, Peterborough police patrol two areas of Peterborough County: Lakefield in Selwyn Township and Cavan Monaghan Township. If the police service were to introduce a third township, it would have to border one of the current regions patrolled by officers, explained Baldwin.
Baldwin says there are many factors to consider when patrolling another region, including more cruisers, radio transmission towers and more officers. He says council may have to bring in a consultant with expertise in that area.
“Do we need Ski-Doos? Boats? Right now, we can borrow some of those things from the OPP so it would be a different model, certainly,” said Baldwin.
He adds that the current annual cost of patrolling Peterborough, Cavan Monaghan and Lakefield is about $25 million.
“Certainly, Peterborough police are a great organization, as are the OPP. We’re simply going to see if there is any room to save some money, and that’s just how it is these days,” he said.
Baldwin says the police board has asked for observer status during the agreement process because the board is not currently involved.
Brendan Wedley, Manager of Communication Service with the City of Peterborough sent a statement to Global News regarding the request.
“If City Council supports providing a cost estimate, City staff would work with the Police Service to begin discussions with Douro-Dummer. Any negotiated agreement at the staff level would be submitted to City Council, Douro-Dummer Township Council and the Police Services Board for approval,” said Wedley.
This topic is on city council’s agenda on Monday night.