L&A OPP Police Service Board organization and nomination process underway

Photo via OPP.

If you have ever wanted to have input into how the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is run in Lennox and Addington County, you may soon have an opportunity to apply to be on the police services board.

New police services boards will soon oversee the Lennox and Addington (L&A) Detachment of the OPP, along with the rest of the province. At the Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2024, regular meeting of the Council of the Town of Greater Napanee, Mayor Terry Richardson, a former member of the OPP, was appointed to serve on the newly established Lennox and Addington Detatchment Ontario Provincial Police Services Board on Council’s behalf.

Police services boards oversee how policing is provided in their local community. They contribute to their community’s safety and well-being by working with local citizens and organizations to make sure their community receives the appropriate policing it needs. The Town of Greater Napanee has been without a police services board since March 23, 2021, when the previous Council received a report about the OPP contract renewal or extension and then voted to authorize the Town’s OPP contract to lapse and the board to fold.

Then on May 25, 2021, the previous Council was presented with a report containing background information on the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 (CSPA) and its new requirements to establish the L&A OPP Detachment Board. At that time, according to a Town staff report, the chief administrative officers (CAOs) of Addington Highlands, Stone Mills, Loyalist, and Greater Napanee presented a joint proposal, which was adopted by their councils and forwarded to the Ontario solicitor general for consideration.

According to the recent staff report presented to Council, the municipalities were informed in July of 2023 that the L&A OPP Detachment Board proposal had been approved and would be established by the four lower-tier municipalities in Lennox and Addington. 

Each municipality must appoint:

  • One member who is a member of their municipal council.
  • One member is jointly appointed by Napanee and Loyalist who is neither a member of the council nor an employee of any of the municipalities.
  • One member jointly appointed by Addington Highlands Township and Stone Mills Township who is neither a member of the council nor an employee of any of the municipalities.

The report states that on May 14, 2024, the solicitor general advised municipalities that the CSPA came into force on April 1, 2024, and thus their new detachment board must now be established. According to the report, municipalities are at various stages of preparation for their new detachment boards, but the staff of all four municipalities have met to discuss next steps, including reviewing what municipalities who are farther along in the process are doing. 

Now that Richardson has been appointed the board member for Napanee Council, staff of the municipalities must issue joint calls for community applicants to the detachment board. 

Proposed qualifications for board members are: 

  • be a resident of the municipal area served by the board (if there are no other qualified applicants in a municipal area, applicants who live outside of the municipal area served by the board may be considered); 
  • pass a comprehensive police records check; 
  • be 18 years of age or older; 
  • understand the role of a police services board; 
  • be involved in their local community; 
  • have good written and verbal communications skills; and 
  • have previous experience on boards or committees (not required, but considered an asset). 

All board members must follow the code of conduct established under the CPSA. 

According to the solicitor general’s letter, once the application period closes, all qualified applicants will be submitted to the four council appointees for review. The council appointees will make recommendations to their own councils on the applicants to be chosen. Once all appointments are made, the members must complete mandatory roles and responsibilities training before exercising their responsibilities as detachment board members.

Napanee CAO Brandt Zatterberg, who presented the report at the meeting, noted that in 2021, the CSPA of 2019 required that heads of council were the only ones who could be appointed to the board, but that has changed, so any council member can now be appointed.

Mayor Richardson gave Council some of the history of the changes referenced in the report, emphasizing that the new structure has been legislated and “it’s beyond our control as far as the roll-out or execution of it. But we do have an opportunity to have a member of Council that sits on that board, along with [the other] lower tier governments: Loyalist, Stone Mills, and Addington Highlands. There will be civilian people assigned or picked by the municipality.”

Councillor Mike Schenk asked if having a new police services board meant there was going to be a single service contract between the OPP and L&A County: “Are we going to have one contract for the whole county, then?” 

“It’s not a contract per se…” the mayor began to explain.

Schenk interrupted, saying, “As you know, we pay the highest of the four municipalities in the county, so we have a lot of other residents come here, and it’s called ‘for service,'” referring to the Town being billed for OPP services that occur in Greater Napanee, but not because of Napanee residents — for example, OPP calls to Quinte Detention Centre.

“All I am saying is that if it is one board, it should be one board for the whole county,” Schenk said before making a motion to nominate the mayor: “I move that Mayor Terry Richardson be put into that slot.”

The nomination was seconded by Councillor Dave Pinnell, but before the vote was taken, Schenk seemed to address a person or people watching the proceedings, saying, “This is going to be a statement, because we’re on YouTube. There will be people that will say ‘Oh, [the Mayor] is a retired OPP; he is going to be too nice to them.’ For the year and a half that I’ve worked with the mayor, he will call a spade a spade, and he will do his due diligence on behalf of the ratepayers of Napanee. So the people out there say, ‘How can you have a cop, cop a cop?’ You know what I mean? I’m sorry, sometimes if somebody’s been there and done that job, he knows when he’s getting buffaloed and when he’s not getting buffaloed… so I just want to put that out there right now to stop it before it goes nuts.”

“I think most people can see and understand that things will be done above board,” Richardson responded.

The motion passed unopposed.

Meetings of the Council of the Town of Greater Napanee can be viewed virtually (or watched afterward) on the Napanee Town Council YouTube channel or attended in person in Council Chambers at Napanee Town Hall, 124 John Street. Further information about Council meetings, including agendas and reports, is available on the Town’s CivicWeb portal.

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