It appears Owen Sound and Hanover have interest in pursuing a police services partnership, but West Grey does not.
Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy provided a brief update to the city's effort to engage nearby municipalities for shared police services at yesterday's council meeting, saying he along with City Manager Wayne Ritchie recently met with Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson and CAO Brian Tocheri.
You may recall back in February, Owen Sound council passed a motion to reach out to the councils and police boards of Hanover and West Grey to discuss and negotiate towards the creation of a regional police force to find efficiencies and benefit for all partners.
Boddy says while Hanover was quick to engage, West Grey decided against having any police partnership discussions at this time.
Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson and West Grey Mayor Christine Robinson were not immediately available for comment.
Boddy is optimistic a partnership can be reached with Hanover. But, he acknowledges it's too early to say what the result of the collaboration will be: whether that be the creation of a new combined police service, or new agreements between the existing police forces.
"Both of us have very high policing costs and emergency service costs that we'd like to get under control," Boddy explains. "The best way is to share things."
According to budget documents, Owen Sound's budgeted cost for police services in 2019 is $10.4-million; Hanover's is $2.8-million.
Boddy says the next step in collaboration efforts between Hanover and Owen Sound will involve conversations between the Chiefs of Police for both municipalities to start looking at different areas they think they can share.
"And looking at different provincial and federal funding programs they can use to make policing better and more affordable in the area," Boddy says. "They've got ideas of what grants they can take advantage of and how they can make it work for both Hanover and Owen Sound."
Cost efficiencies aside, Boddy says collaboration between the police forces of Owen Sound and Hanover can also result in better law enforcement.
"Criminal activity, drug activity doesn't pay attention to borders," he says. "Perhaps we have a service here in Owen Sound we're really good at that we can provide to Hanover from time to time to help them provide better policing. And them to us."
"There's great advantages of sharing with them and with other communities."
And Owen Sound's mayor does expect there will be other municipalities interested in being involved in sharing police services.
Boddy says he's had informal conversations with other mayors in the area, but did not elaborate on which municipalities.