It’s possible Chatham-Kent police could be enforcing the law in Leamington next year.
Our local police service is one of several services that MPM Consulting recommended as options to Leamington council at a recent special meeting.
The OPP has handled policing in Leamington since 2010, replacing that town’s own police service, but that deal runs out at the end of this year.
MPM’s Mike Mitchell wrote the report, and suggested LaSalle, Windsor or Chatham-Kent as options for Leamington in terms of providing law enforcement.
“Leamington has, potentially, three viable options. The town could contract with Windsor, LaSalle, or Chatham-Kent provided that those municipalities were willing to develop and present a proposal,” MPM’s report read. “Ideally, Leamington would initiate a competitive process, such as a ‘request for proposals,’ in the hope of receiving at least two responses that could be compared with respect to the key policing priorities that council established prior to initiating the competitive process.”
Meanwhile, Pat Weaver, head of the Police Services Board for Chatham-Kent, said no one from Leamington has reached out to them yet.
“We have not been contacted. We have not had any communication with the Town of Leamington,” he said.
But he did not discount the possibility of the local service expanding into the neighbouring community.
“We would certainly look at the costing side of the program and would not be adverse to expansion if it was not adverse to the force and the municipality,” Weaver said.
He added that Amherstburg explored the possibility of Chatham-Kent handling policing responsibilities there several years ago, but it just wasn’t an option.
“There is a rule where the territory has to be contiguous. You have to be attached to your own jurisdiction. They (Amherstburg) were an automatic no,” he said.
The City of Windsor took over policing in Amherstburg on Jan. 1, 2019 and has the contract for the next 20 years.
Another option for Leamington is to re-establish its own police service, but MPM did not recommend that route.
“This option is allowable under the Act but would be the most difficult to pursue. At least two municipalities have examined this possibility in the past few years, but it would require the construction or refurbishment of a building that meets all of the standards for a police facility,” the report stated. “It would also require significant one-time, start up expenditures pertaining to capital costs for vehicles, uniforms and equipment.”