Orangeville Town Council rejects motion seeking data on downtown police patrols

July 20, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The Orangeville Police Service (OPS) was once again at the forefront of a Monday night council meeting this week, with some councillors calling on the force to provide details regarding officer patrols in the downtown core.

Councillor Sylvia Bradley last month called on council to band together and request that the OPS look into its downtown patrolling schedule, saying members of the Orangeville Public Library and the local business sector were “unhappy” with the frequency of police patrols.

“Councillor Wilson and myself are members of the Orangeville Library Board and, from our position, we know that an officer is supposed to patrol through the library on a daily basis,” Coun. Bradley said. “Those numbers have decreased now to the point that, in April, we had only three walkthroughs in the whole month. Efforts need to be made to increase this or find a solution, but it’s very important that the library has this police presence on a daily basis.”

The idea of having more police officers patrolling the downtown core, while ongoing previously, originated from a 2011 decision where the council of the time applied for provincial grants that would enable OPS to hire two part-time officers for the purpose of patrolling on Broadway. Coun. Gail Campbell recalled that motion, saying she’s not sure how things have changed in the six years since that application. Coun. Bradley pointed out that the Town had recently signed-off on renewing the program for another year.

“My point is that we’re approving this program, we have the contract but we don’t have people downtown. Certainly the library is not seeing them,” Coun. Bradley said. “I’m not sure how we’re getting this grant. I’d like to see a full report put together so that we can send it to the provincial government and we can justify the hiring of two specific officers for the downtown area.”

Mayor Jeremy Williams was skeptical, stating he did not disagree with the wish for more patrols through the library but could not support a motion that could impact community safety.

“I get very, very nervous whenever there’s a request for too much strategic information on how police patrol, when police patrol and where police patrol,” Mayor Williams said. “If we owned a bank we wouldn’t want to tell a bank robber where all the alarms are and how all the locks are set up.”

He added, “Certainly if the request was along the lines of ‘we need to see an improved presence’ then that to me is an appropriate request, but I could never support this from a security point of view. It’s a foolish ask that could end up hurting us and hurting our community.”

OPS Sgt. Dan Maloney, in attendance for Monday’s meeting, told council that police deployment in the downtown core has always been a priority.

“I’ve been with the OPS for 16 years and officers have been deployed across the town on a daily and nightly basis and we always make sure to include the downtown core,” Sgt. Maloney said. “Deployment is a fluid process throughout the day. Something could happen at 7 a.m. that changes plans for 8 a.m. and then changes plans for 11 a.m. … To be able to nail down what’s going to happen and when, it doesn’t always work that way. It’s a fluid process and is supervised on a daily basis.”

Sgt. Maloney noted OPS recently hired a new part-time patrol officer to cover the downtown core following an internal retirement. Officer Bruce Lemcke, son of former Shelburne Police Chief Carman Lemcke, joined the OPS following a 32-year career with Peel Regional Police.

“Officer Lemcke is very adept at dealing with business owners and the community. If you were to see Bruce out there on a daily basis you would know he’s the right guy for that task,” Sgt. Maloney said.

Just before the vote, Mayor Williams added, “I spend a lot of time downtown and don’t recall a time where I haven’t seen an officer patrolling.”

With just five members of council in attendance – Coun. Nick Garisto and Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock were absent – the Bradley motion failed in a 3-2 vote, Councillors. Campbell and Don Kidd voting alongside Mayor Williams in opposition, with only Coun. Wilson in support.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.