Grenville Mayors fight to save local Police Services Boards

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The work of the North Grenville Police Services Board (NGPSB) may be significantly impacted by provincial legislation at the end of this year.

Early on in their mandate, the current provincial government announced that they were working towards local Police Services Boards (PSB) being consolidated into one PSB per detachment. This means that by 2022, the North Grenville PSB, Prescott PSB, Merrickville-Wolford PSB and the Augusta PSB would all be dissolved, and one regional PSB created to serve all of Grenville County, which includes all these municipalities plus Edwardsburgh/Cardinal.

Mayor Nancy Peckford says the province’s decision to consolidate PSBs across the province is an effort to ensure the members of PSBs are properly trained and keep police detachments from having too many bodies to answer to. Mayor Peckford believes that centralizing PBS, especially in a rural area like Grenville County, would prevent them from responding effectively to the needs of residents. “In a small or rural area like ours, it’s had these unintended consequences of potentially taking four boards and reducing it to one,” she says. “We believe as Mayors of Grenville, that isn’t acceptable.”

In January 2020, Mayor Peckford, along with previous NGPSB members Don Sherritt and Bruce Harrison, attended a conference of Ontario Police Services Board Associations to make the case for having more than one PSB per detachment in areas like Grenville County. “That case was being made very early in the game,” Mayor Peckford says. “Thankfully, the province did respond with a caveat that if you were a community, or you were a set of communities that felt that you needed your own dedicated Police Services Board, there was the chance to make that case to the Solicitor General.”

Mayor Peckford says all five Mayors have agreed to submit a request to the province to have up to three PSBs in Grenville County. The idea is to combine PSBs where it makes sense, perhaps lumping North Grenville in with Merrickville-Wolford, Augusta with Edwarsburgh/Cardinal and Prescott having its own PSB. The mayors will be reconvening in early June to review the application, and will be submitting it to the Ministry of the Solicitor General by the end of the month.

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