Owen Sound city council will vote on initiating formal discussions with nearby municipalities about the creation of a Regional Police Force.
City councillor Richard Thomas gave notice at yesterday's meeting he will bring forward a motion Feb. 11 to direct staff to correspond with the councils and police boards of Owen Sound, West Grey, Hanover and other municipalities that may wish to be partners, to discuss and negotiate towards the creation of a regional police force to find efficiencies and benefit for all partners.
"It doesn't ever get any cheaper to run a municipality, as we'll see over the next couple of days with our budgets," Thomas says. "I think anything we can look at and discuss that may save us money is a good thing."
Coun. Thomas says whether or not the creation of a regional police force can achieve cost savings still needs to be explored.
"There's been a lot of talk about a county library, for example, as a way to save money. And we proved that it will actually cost more to do that," Thomas explains. "Maybe, maybe not (a regional police force will save money). But you start by talking to people."
Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy recently expressed a desire to engage Hanover and West Grey, which also operate municipal police services, and other municipalities who may be interested in the creation of a Grey County Police Force.
Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson expressed interest in the idea and pointed out coverage for the area could be enhanced as a result.
West Grey Mayor Christine Robinson noted their service is currently looking at expansion options, but the municipality would certainly participate in the conversation if a service can be created that continues being as effective, impactful and cost-efficient for ratepayers.
According to a recent Bayshore Broadcasting Report, Owen Sound spent $7.3-million on police services in 2018, West Grey's cost was $3.3-million and Hanover paid $2.8-million.
In all, Grey County municipalities spent more than $23-million on police services last year.