The West Nipissing Police Services Board (WNPSB) appointed Dan Gagné as its new chair for the 2022 term on March 23, while retaining municipal councillor Chris Fisher as the vice-chair. Dan Gagné is one of the two provincial appointees to the board, the other being Rachelle Laflèche. The board meeting, held at the OPP Nipissing West detachment boardroom, also saw the adoption of a comprehensive procedural bylaw and a decision to post all proceedings on the municipal website “So people can look and all the minutes will be there,” said vice-chair Fisher.
OPP Inspector Mike Maville told the board that an application for a grant to hire a crisis nurse has been submitted, and “the cost would be covered in the grant – it would not cost the municipality.” The plan is to have a qualified mental health nurse to assist in crisis calls.
Fisher raised the issue of Search and Rescue, noting that there had been an active trained SAR volunteer team in WN who had their own trailer and were supplied with older equipment by the WN Fire Service. Inspector Maville indicated he had never heard of them, and guessed that they didn’t have an agreement with the OPP. He added of the OPP, “We’re well equipped to do search and rescue – we’re limited across the province who can do SAR …We don’t outsource SAR, but they may assist us.” He noted that SAR across the province remains an OPP responsibility, along with the resources such as helicopters and dogs. “When things happen, things ramp up; and when it’s done, they go home. Ottawa was a prime example,” he said, referencing the truck occupation in Ottawa. He later noted that this OPP cluster sent 18 officers to Ottawa when the protests turned into an occupation.
West Nipissing will be commencing with the new billing model based on ‘Calls For Service’ in the 2023 fiscal year. The third year of OPP services commences June 6, 2022. Inspector Maville released a privileged document to the board covering 2 years of data collection in West Nipissing. The contents of the document cannot be made public until received by the municipality, but he did explain that the calls are weighted, based on the time spent on those matters. Time spent is calculated as a provincial average. For example, certain matters, such as criminal assaults, might take an average of 16 hours to deal with, others might take an hour. The base rate for policing is determined by MPAC. In West Nipissing it is around $300 per household. Maville told the board, “Calls for service affect that base amount but not exponentially. We’re getting close to the new billing model and when you get to it, I believe you will be saving money… [Currently] West Nipissing is paying per person – FTE… If we don’t make up the contractual hours we said we would provide, you get a refund at the end of the year.” Maville noted “Some matters don’t cost the municipality, they are provincial responsibility, such as specialized services, use of helicopters or canine units. Anything that has to do with provincial adequacy services – it is a service we provide.”