Elliot Lake councillor wants review of OPP services

An Elliot Lake councillor says he is concerned with the level of service the OPP is providing to the city. 

Councillor Ed Pearce says at just under $2.7 million per year, the cost of policing is a major part of the city budget, but he is concerned that the city has little or no control over how many officers are on duty at any given time.

He adds there has been no recent update provided by the OPP either about major concerns, such as drugs, gangs, violence or problems with unstable people.

Pearce will be putting a motion before the council tonight asking the city to undertake a detailed and formal review of the contract with the OPP to determine what levels of policing the city requires and what the potential costs would be.

The meeting will be live-streamed at 7 pm at elliotlake.ca

 

Pearce’s complete motion to council … 

At just under $2.7 million per year, the cost of policing in Elliot Lake is a major cost to the city budget. Yet we seem to have little or no control over how many officers are on duty in our community versus other municipalities in the East Algoma detachment, what resources are used and what resources are needed for better policing. There has been no update to Council by the local detachment commander on the state of safety or the major concerns that the OPP have with regards to drugs, gangs, violence or problems with mentally unstable people, nor accounting of why our costs are what they are.

At the same time, we have seen an invasion of illicit drugs and attendant overdoses, the arrival of gangs that are increasingly violent and threatening to the local population and an increase in the number of violent acts.

In the last two to three weeks there was an attempted abduction of a young girl on her way to school. She managed to escape, and the man fled but the police did not see fit to issue a warning to parents or other schools. 

A man assaulted his neighbour with a hammer and was arrested then released on recognizance and has since threatened an 85-year-old man and his family who have been pillars of this community for over 65 years, who now live-in fear after receiving numerous telephone threats from the same man. I have listened to one of these threats and it is genuinely scary. Yet the local OPP has seen fit to do nothing to protect these people or the community at large.

There seems to be an attitude by the OPP that we are not entitled to know what they do, and we should be grateful for their work in Elliot Lake. Yet few of them live in our town, preferring the bright lights of Blind River and Thessalon. When they go home after a shift, they don’t patronize the businesses in our community, nor are they readily available in the event of a potential problem.

I am not anti-police. In fact, members of my family have served proudly as police officers. I am, however, pro-accountability and I ask that the Council undertake a detailed and formal review of our contract with the OPP to determine what levels of policing we require and what the potential costs would be.

 

PHOTO: An Elliot Lake councillor wants some answers from OPP about their level of service to the city and how the police service is addressing major concerns in Elliot Lake. Photo provided by OPP and used with permission.

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