I need to start this post with an apology for it taking so long for me to post – I ran into some technical difficulties…mainly not having a working “enter” key on my laptop and I was struggling with formatting on my tablet! So, for those of you who have been waiting, I’m sorry – and I thank you for your patience!!!!
As you may recall, over the summer our 911 service was outsourced to a company in Sudbury called Northern 911. This decision was brought on when Dufferin County Council requested an RFP to see if there was financial savings to be had if the dispatch was moved from OPS to another provider. During the RFP process, Northern 911 was the successful bidder and brought a significant savings to the County.
However, this change has come with challenges. At the Orangeville Council Meeting on January 16th, Orangeville’s Police Chief, Wayne Kalinski and Sergeant Dave McLagan gave a presentation to Council explaining the issues that have been occurring since Northern 911 has taken over dispatching. At the top of the list are the 150 calls in the 4 month span from June 28th to Oct 31st that had issues requiring OPS to correct. Council was told that one of the primary reasons for these mistakes were calls made from cell phones by people on or near a border such as Mono where Caledon Emergency Services were dispatched rather than Orangeville. These incidents can cause extreme delays in the response time and are potentially life-threatening minutes.
Sergeant McLagan spent some time speaking to the ‘Blended’ Model that Orangeville uses and its advantages…the primary benefit being that all of the County’s emergency services would be dispatched from one place – rather than the current system where Police and Fire are separate from Ambulance. Currently about 4% of all 911 calls that come in are experiencing issues. That may not seem like a huge number…in fact 96% are right…But 4% is a HUGE margin of error in my humble opinion, especially when we are talking something as crucial as 911.
Retired Fire Chief, Andy Macintosh also addressed Council with the same concerns “It seems to be about money, not safety” and he asked Council to considering separating themselves from the County and bringing OPS dispatch back to Orangeville.
So, after all talks were done, Councillor Campbell made a motion requesting that County Council investigate the 911 situation and that they send a report back to Orangeville Council so that Orangeville can make a recommendation on how to proceed. County Council had received the same presentation a few days prior and had requested a report be brought back with their findings. Councillor Campbell’s motion passed unanimously. So further discussion will come once the report is received.
What do you think about the current 911 situation?
The Flag Will Fly Again
In keeping with Flag Day, the Canadian Flag will be raised in Dragonfly Park on February 15th, 2017. I’m excited to see our flag back up and once again, I want to give a shout-out to our community for chipping in with donations and making this happen!! Paul Korsten and Councillor Garisto really led the initiative and got HUGE community support! Will you be attending the raising of the flag?
OPP Costing is *FINALLY* Coming
It has been announced that the OPP Costing will be presented at the Council Meeting that is being held on Monday, February 13th, 2017. This costing has been a contentious topic since well before the last election. In the past, the OPS had a poor reputation in Orangeville due to a number of factors starting with being one of the highest paid police departments in Ontario followed with some lawsuits and other poor decisions.
This was one of the hottest topics during the last election and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone currently sitting in Council Chambers who didn’t run on a platform that included investigating the possibility of OPP. However, since just prior to the election, OPS has made HUGE strides in their budget as well as their community involvement and as a result, the level of service and their overall reputation within Orangeville has come leaps and bounds. I need to take this moment to give a huge shout-out to Chief Kalinski…because a lot of the great changes that have been made have been a direct result of his leadership, his professionalism and his passion for Orangeville. He has built a great culture within the Police Department and his passion for Orangeville is contagious – you can see it in the hearts of all of his officers. Thank you Chief 🙂
I am eagerly awaiting the OPP costing presentation – I am eager to hear what they have to offer and how the costs break down. If you follow social media at all, I’m sure you have heard some of the fear mongering about OPP – and I do believe that’s what some of it is. Will the sky fall if OPP takes over our policing? I absolutely don’t believe that it will. And I think its unfair to make those assumptions before hearing their presentation. Don’t get me wrong – I am a huge advocate of OPS and Chief Kalinski and I feel that OPS is a huge asset to Orangeville. But, to be fair, I don’t have all of the facts yet….no one does.
Interestingly, The City of Brockville (population of approx 25,000) received their OPP costing this week and after all questions were answered, a notice of motion was brought forward to reject the costing and keep their policing local.
I’d love to know what all of you think? Do you have a preference? Or are you waiting for more information? Will you come out to the Council Meeting on February 13th? Do you think the community should have input before a decision is made? I hope to see you all at this important meeting!
Next Council Meeting
The next scheduled Council Meeting is Monday, January 30th, 2017. See ya there!!