Orangeville Council narrowly approves OPP bicycle patrols downtown

May 5, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Police bicycle patrols are coming to Orangeville this summer.

In a 4-3 vote Town Council approved a motion brought forward by Mayor Sandy Brown, directing Town staff to support OPP bicycle patrols locally and provide $9,000 for the purchase of four bicycles, during a Council meeting on April 25.

Those who voted against the motion, Coun. Lisa Post, Coun, Todd Taylor, and Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh, said while they supported the idea in principle, they were hesitant to approve it.

Macintosh said this is because procedurally, the motion should be recommended to the Town’s Police Services Board, as they represent Council.

“I support it 100 per cent. I think it’s a great idea, and I know the Police Services Board will probably have no issue with it, but just as a matter of proper procedure, I want it to go to them first, us second.”

Mayor Brown said the money associated with the motion would have to come back to Council for approval anyways, so he sees putting it to the Police Services Board as an undue delay.

Macintosh then asked if they couldn’t approve giving the money to the Police Services Board during their April 25 meeting so there’s no delay and then have them have the final say on it.

Mayor Brown said he wasn’t sure what would happen differently when going this route.

Macintosh responded that since the topic of bicycle patrols has never come before the board, it would be prudent to have them give the final approval.

Mayor Brown noted the contract with the OPP is with Orangeville Council not the Police Services Board, and their exchange ended at that.

Coun. Todd Taylor, who also voted against the motion, expressed a similar sentiment as Macintosh.

“To me too, typically items like this would go through the boards that we would have,” he said.

“I think we’re out of sorts here in terms of the way we’re doing it. I was surprised to see it come up on the agenda, so I did follow up with the inspector. There’s no report, there’s no information on how this would be executed. I think it would be best if we waited and had more information come forward from the inspector, as opposed to approving it tonight.”

Mayor Brown responded that he has already had direct conversations with Dufferin OPP Detachment Insp. Terry Ward and he has read the motion on bicycle patrols and agrees with it.

“So you know, I disagree that there’s a requirement [with the Police Services Board]. It’s already a need for bicycle patrols in town. It’s something – as I’ve laid out in the in the motion – is a good thing, and there doesn’t need to be any negative connotation here on this motion, so I disagree with what you’ve said, Councillor Taylor.”

Coun. Post also chimed in, noting she also supports the idea behind the motion but wanted a bit more information on how the whole program would work before approving it.

She said the Town is still in a transitional contract with the OPP, since replacing the Orangeville Police Service in late 2020, and part of her understanding with respect to the contract is that they’re currently working to understand service levels within the community.

“This would be an instant kind of change to that service level, and not being a member of the Police Services Board, I’m not sure exactly how that part works. But I would have loved to have had just a little bit of information from the inspector or from the police service, along with this motion, because I agree. I think it’s a great idea in principle but I’d love to see how that execution would work, how the patrols would work, if we have the officer staff right now to make this program effective,’ said Coun. Post.

Coun. Joe Andrews shared similar comments as Coun. Taylor, Post, and Deputy Mayor Macintosh, who voted against the motion, but when the vote was called, he voted in favour.

“I’m in alignment with the idea, I think it is a great idea. But to follow up on Counselor Post’s comment, I know that if I recall, there was a discussion at some point with the opportunity for Inspector [Terry] Ward to at times, whatever that sequence or schedule would be, to at least give us an update of some things that were happening with our local detachment and this could have been or might have been one of those items,” said Coun. Andrews.

“So I’m in alignment now with Councillor Post’s comments of having little more information or just even some feedback from an Inspector Ward on his endorsement of this.”

The vote to approve OPP bicycle patrols passed 4-3 and they are anticipated to begin in the summer.

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