A very common question among the many submissions to my Ask The Chief blog is whether the Midland Police Service has access to Ontario Provincial Police specialty units such as the helicopter, dive units, K9, tactical teams etc, and if there is a cost for this service. Instead of dealing with the requests one-by-one, I will address that in one blanket response that should help demystify the way this works, not just in Midland, but around the Province of Ontario.
To be clear, the Midland Police Service has the same access to the OPP’s specialty units as any OPP detachment and there is no cost for this.
The OPP is essentially split in to two organizations. The first half provides front line policing to municipalities on a cost recovery basis and makes up approximately 37% of the OPP budget. The second half provides specialty services to all Ontarians, makes up approximately 67% of the budget, and is paid for by Provincial tax dollars. Since specialty units are funded by Provincial tax dollars, we all have equal access.
Although these specialty services may be used frequently across the Province, they are used infrequently by any one community. This model provides excellent services while taking advantage of economies of scale. The OPP and Midland Police have had a long history of partnering together and have conducted many successful operations and investigations.
This Costing process is about front-line policing only. This is not about the specialty services, nor is it about the dedicated women and men of both police services. Council will simply be comparing the cost and service levels of the OPP’s Integrated Service Model, against the cost and services of the Midland Police Services Dedicated or Stand Alone Service Model.
I have attached a page from the OPP’s – 2015 Annual Report that demonstrates the divide in the budget and lists some of the provincially funded specialty units. See attached graphic.