First Look at County Police Review

The consultant reviewing policing in Northumberland County will make their first report to County Council at their meeting on 17 April. The report describes what they plan to do and gives a final report date of “the second half of 2024”.  The project was initiated in January 2023 when Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander moved to include $75,000 in the budget to “update the 2007 Policing Study Final Report for Northumberland County.”  He was supported by Mayor Lucas Cleveland, Port Hope’s Mayor Olena Hankivsky and Alnwick/Haldimand Township Mayor John Logel.  The presentation by the consultant, StrategyCorp, points to options to be considered and criteria to be evaluated including “what next steps could be considered to support effective public safety services as Northumberland grows and changes.”

Options to be considered

  1. Status Quo – Maintain the current state
  2. Amalgamation – Create a new consolidated service for some (e.g., through the creation of an amalgamated service for Cobourg, Port Hope – Ward 1 and Ward 2, and Hamilton Township) or all of Northumberland
  3. External Option – Empower a neighboring police service (e.g., Durham, Peterborough) or the OPP to provide services for the entire county
  4. Other potential opportunities that represent the best option for policing in Northumberland

Each scenario will be evaluated based on its advantages and disadvantages, focusing on both cost implications and service quality.   Full costing is not included although the report will “examine key cost and performance drivers of policing and provide a fair analysis of the current costs and future risks”.

The impact of the Cobourg Police Business unit is not mentioned.  This would be a major consideration in any merger or take over.

Project Methodology

Interviews: Engagement with key stakeholders, such as police Leaders (Chiefs / Detachment Commanders), other public safety representatives, and mayors, will be conducted through structured interviews, providing an understanding of their perspectives and priorities, crucial for shaping the direction of the project.

Data and Document Review The identification and review of relevant data and documents for the three police services as well as peer benchmarking will be used to facilitate the development of a detailed comparison of the scenario options.

Information Sharing An information page about this project has been created on Northumberland County’s Join In Northumberland website. It includes an overview of plans and timelines, a Link to today’s presentation, an opportunity for people to subscribe to the page to receive any future updates, and an email address for people who have questions or comments. (Not yet online)

Council Presentation In the second half of 2024, the draft report will be presented to Northumberland County Council. This will allow for a thorough review and discussion, ensuring alignment with the community’s expectations and priorities.

This is a slow process but the consultant has good credentials so hopefully will make a good recommendation and not just tell us what the Police Chiefs want.  Remember the Cobourg Police Board statement in February 2023: “Cobourg Police Service Board does not support any further study on County wide policing.”

Resources

Update

17 April 2024. Here is the report by the County on this subject – very little new.

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Linda
27 days ago

What is needed in this area is a locally operated 911 center

Pete M
29 days ago

Global news Peterborough did a story on the County Police Review:

https://globalnews.ca/news/10441101/northumberland-county-begins-review-of-policing-services/

Chief Tim.Farquharson was very forth coming saying that small Police services dont have all the resources or units that larger police agencies havs And at times there is a need to reach out to the larger services to assist with those units.

He also seems to understand why the study is being done and the need for politicians to explore cost savings in respect to the tax payer.

It would have been respectful of the Cobourg Police Services Board or CPS Chief to go on camera with Global, even it was just to say what they handed out to Global in an e mail.

Maybe its time for Cobourg to separate from the County and become a stand alone Municipality like Belleville, Pembroke, St Thomas, Qunite West?

LivesinCobourg
29 days ago

I read on Today’s Northumberland the “Cobourg Police Service Welcomes the Community to Tour the Police Station on April 25th”. In the article it says “Community members are asked to sign in at the front counter upon arrival”. Why in the world would people be asked to sign in to a public building for a tour?

Rob
1 month ago

In my opinion, the problem isn’t the Cobourg Police Service, we have a much more significant systemic problem. We give drugs to addicts. We release violent reoffenders. We allow nearly everyone to walk free on bail (unless you protest taxation or vaccination). Our system is broken and it favours the criminal and not the punishment. Enough coddling those who refuse to take accountability for their behaviour and stop calling them our most vulnerable. We need tough judges and minimum sentences. Life should mean life and serious crimes should be sentenced non-concurrently to maximum security for life. If we run out of room, build more prisons.

CPS does a very good job. Do they have a LOA problem, maybe, I don’t know, but I’m sure it isn’t a simple solution. Could they do more? Yes, they certainly could. I can not tell you the last time I saw a foot patrol downtown or anywhere. I do not ever see a patrol car in my neighbourhood. They should resume publishing the names of all those arrested for DUI, drug offenses and violent crimes – this is a woke policy. I think they have taken the wrong approach to the encampers at Brokeside, and they play the victim, blaming government, instead of doing the difficult work that is necessary.

But I support having a local police force and they do good work.

Kyle
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

The OPP do good work too and as others have pointed out cost millions less per year. The hardest thing going OPP is figuring out what tondo with the extra millions.

Rob
Reply to  Kyle
1 month ago

If only it were as simple as looking at a balance sheet. I’m certainly not saying the OPP doesn’t also do good work, these two things aren’t mutually exclusive, what I am saying is that when considering a change in community policing, cost should not be the determining factor. And to your point, much like the Federal government, the Town cares little about affordability for taxpayers and has an unquenchable thirst for tax dollars – they would not have any problem spending any savings realized, while setting double digit tax increases in 2024 and 2025.

Pete M
Reply to  Kyle
1 month ago

Two serious incidents in Cobourg in the last week or two.

In both incidents OPP Forensic Identification was called in to assist in the investigation.

Is this because the Cobourg Police doesnt have a forensic identification unit or its ” forensic identification officers” don t have necessary training to do what the OPP can do?

This is why its time to streamline policing in the County to one service. A service that has a capacity to provide all of the services to ensure the residents of the entire county are protected and served completely.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2024/04/15/breaking-news-video-cobourg-police-conducting-sudden-death-investigation/

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2024/04/19/video-update-opp-forensic-identification-officer-at-scene-of-incident-in-cobourg/

Dave
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Disappointed with regard to the stance the Chief has taken on suppressing the names of the arrested stating it is nobody’s business. It is helpful to know for your own safety especially when the arrested and often repeatedly arrested live directly in your neighbourhood. I see no reason why they should have any protection in their names and reputation being available to the community. It is not nosey it is called protection of your being and assets when you are aware a danger lurks nearby. A reminder to take safety precautions as these people often draw similar types to the immediate vicinity.
Today’s News – Heavy police tape at Alexandria Park – Investigation by CPS and OPP – targeted – no names released, no description of what is labelled and “incident”.

LivesinCobourg
Reply to  Dave
29 days ago

I don’t understand how 1 person can decide such an important decision of not releasing names of persons charged with serious offenses. There have been numerous crimes which the public should be concerned about and no name is released.

Bryan
Reply to  LivesinCobourg
29 days ago

Dave and LivesinCobourg,

I’m all for publishing the names of people convicted of a crime, but not prior to that. The presumption of innocence prevails.

Dave wrote “It is helpful to know for your own safety….” How Dave? Do you expect the “criminals” to wear name tags so you will be able to identify them and keep clear?

There are a sufficient number of cases where innocent people have had their lives ruined by faulty name publication of the arrested.

Of more concern are the lax “catch & release” policies.  

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
29 days ago

Bryan – I know who they are and their prior records – I just don’t know what further crimes they have been convicted, picked up for. However I have seen an absent for the past year of a couple of them in the neighbourhood. Could they possibly be residing in the Gray Bar Hotel again? They came back to this neighbourhood after release previously. Long time Cobourg residents with ties to this community Bryan and some of their crimes have been committed right here in the immediate vicinity you of doubtful thought.

LivesinCobourg
Reply to  LivesinCobourg
29 days ago

Bryan,

I don’t think once a person is convicted it is ever released to the public.

In some cases the person charged may be innocent. However, lets just look at only today in Today’s Northumberland.

“The victim’s wallet, containing identification and banking cards, had been stolen. One of the cards was subsequently used for a purchase at another business.
Following an investigation into the occurrence, a suspect was identified. On April 20, 2024, a 42-year-old Cobourg woman was arrested and charged…”

Not a threat to the safety of citizens but if I knew who this person was I would be extra aware around them.

“Police attended and, during the investigation, determined that there were several firearms in the residence
that were not safely stored and some that were unregistered.
As a result of the investigation, a 37-year-old Cobourg man was arrested and charged with unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon, careless storage of a firearm, and two counts of careless storage of ammunition…”

Dangerous to the public and name should have been released.

Again, we are so thankful to have Pete Fisher in our community. The only way we have an idea of what is really going on in this town.

John Draper
Reply to  LivesinCobourg
29 days ago

You are quoting Pete Fisher’s report. He is in turn quoting news releases from the Cobourg Police Force. You don’t need to get Pete’s reports for this; they are on the Police web site here. https://cobourgpoliceservice.com/media/

Bryan
Reply to  LivesinCobourg
29 days ago

LivesinCobourg,

How much are you willing to pay for information (arrest name) that may be marginally useful to you?

An Ottawa woman awarded $255,000 for wrongful arrest by Ottawa Police

A Blind River couple sues OPP for $2,000,000 for wrongful arrest

A Toronto teen sues the Toronto Police and Toronto School Board for $2,000,000 for wrongful arrest.

Reports of situations like this are easy to find, suggesting that they are not rare events.

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
29 days ago

Bryan, In your response to publishing- not publishing names you stated “The presumption of innocence prevails”

Yet above you use two examples of lawsuits Blind River and Toronto Teen sues. In both the articles clearly state the allegations haven t been proven in court.

I would refrain from using these two examples until all the facts are in court and the courts have ruled ine way or the other.

Presumption of innocence

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
29 days ago

Pete M,

In the Blind River case the charges were withdrawn. The Toronto teen was never charged.

I believe the “allegations haven’t been proven in court.” refers to the lawsuits, not the “crimes” the people were arrested for.

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
29 days ago

Bryan,
In the Blind River case,this is a no win situation for police. This is ongoing neighbour dispute with cross complaints and allegations. Yes the charges were dropped but nowhere does it say the arrest were illegal. There are many reasons why the Crown drops charges. But no where in the article does it clearly say why they were dropped. Crimes may and probably were committed,but charges were not prosecuted.
As for the Toronto teen, it appears it was a chaotic scene with several.people indicating the teen had a gun or did have a gun. When it comes to an allegation of gun with people pointing out a person, police dont have much time verify or corroborate. Better to arrest and contain the threat than to have someone shot. Once investigation was done and determining the person didnt have a gun, he was released no charges. I dont know for sure, but I dont believe the name of the Toronto Teen was released, but i could be wrong.

In both cases the police were trying to do their jobs to best of their abilities in diificult.situations to maintain the peace. But so many instances police are sued because it’s easy.And in most cases it is cheaper for the police/ municipality to settle than to fight the suit

mcpissed
Reply to  Pete M
25 days ago

Many agree. cps hands are tied with judicial backups and federal/provincial willy nilly handling of laws that are in place. Although when you’re paid well to uphold laws there is no backing down or excuse of exhaustion. uphold laws, be present and work with community. I rarely see cps anywhere over the course of a year and that says something…

Old Sailor
1 month ago

One would think that this was also a good time for the County to discuss with Ontario and the Feds the pitfalls of the current catch and release system. If we are spending ~ $5 million on the 310 Division St. location, before operating costs, would that have been better spent in a rehab facility for the drug addicts? Offer drug addicts a choice of a complete rehab programme or jail. Get them off the steet. Cobourg doesn’t need all of the County’s drug addicts raising Hell in downtown Cobourg.

Pete M
1 month ago

From an earlier article in this blog:

Concern by Police
The Cobourg Police Board sent a letter to Council that said:

Due to misinformation disseminated by Mayor Cleveland and Mayor Ostrander to the public and Whereas neither the Board or Cobourg Council was aware of the County’s motion regarding the 2007 County Wide Policing Study update; and Whereas this has had great effect on our Staff and other segments of our policing model in Cobourg;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Cobourg Police Service Board does not support any further study on County wide policing

We now have the Project Methodology:

Project Methodology
Interviews: Engagement with key stakeholders, such as police Leaders (Chiefs / Detachment Commanders), other public safety representatives, and mayors, will be conducted through structured interviews, providing an understanding of their perspectives and priorities, crucial for shaping the direction of the project.

I see the researchers/ study staff wish to engage the Chiefs (plural)

In light of the CPS Board resolution to not support any further study, will the Police Services Board and / or Chief participate in this review/ study??

If they dont does this stop the study/review ?

.

Dave
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

I understood the County is the upper tier of government in the municipal politics governing Northumberland County and it is a county wide issue. 311 is a Cobourg issue therefore the Town has more ability to govern policies directly in Cobourg only. I will be surprised if the study does not proceed.
I read about all the other police services and quality of law enforcement which is directly restricted by current Federal laws and our very lenient judicial system.
As one poster pointed out foot patrols are seldom seen here which I think is a big part of police enforcement with known trouble makers well known to the officers on the street. The OPP does not strike me as a force that will put more boots on the street for local policing – my concern on that force. You can’t police what you don’t know. It isn’t all dollars and cents that is why I would favour an amalgamation of local police forces. Direction comes from the top, perhaaps we should be thinking of reviewing the effectiveness of performance of the CPS against Port Hope which seems a stricter policiing entity.

cornbread
Reply to  Pete M
1 month ago

I would have to say… “The CPS did not show up for the Job Interview…and are now eliminated from the search.

cornbread
1 month ago

Without “Full Costing” comparisons, how can a proper decision be made on this the largest portion of our yearly budget. What a bunch of amateurs running things. Get the full facts.

Sandpiper
Reply to  cornbread
1 month ago

W e have done this before costing and service are 2 different things
Paying for service and figureheads that do not function in times of need
are just costs . OPP have all the Man power to call upon when ever needed as well as the
expertise our police call upon from time to time as well as all the equipment and provincial resources and budget to draw from . With out a New station for $34 Mil +++ over runs

Kathleen
1 month ago

Of course the CPS does not want to amalgamate.
They’ve been the big wheel all this time. Hard to imagine them wanting to be a cog in the wheel. But it’s not about them.
It’s a no brainer for this taxpayer. We cannot afford our own police department anymore.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kathleen
Catherine
1 month ago

If this means the current Chief of police would be gone then I’m all in. He’s completely useless.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

Catherine, More than useless. He barely squeaked by on getting the job even though he was the Deputy who moved from the deputy’s position in Belleville for some reason? He has a lot of detractors including serving Police Officers. He banned Pete Fisher from attending incidents. He should retire and get another job in another small town looking for retired Police Chiefs.

Kathleen
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Heard his reputation in Belleville wasn’t much better.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 month ago

Pete Fisher is still attending incidents.

Lemon Cake
1 month ago

Alignment with a bigger police force would be good – especially one with specialty units around major crime and drugs. I think that should be a major consideration that goes into any recommendation. Sadly, I think our current police force just doesn’t have this expertise – and the OPP has been pretty useless so far.

Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

This is a good start to finally looking at amalgamating or changing to a different type of policing such as OPP. My concern is that during phase 2 (if county council even gets that far) there MAY be consultation/engagement with community members on preferred options. Why in the world would community members not have a say? This should say WILL have a say, or is something going to be shoved down our throats again by the experts at the county level?