You are here

Why can’t the OPP enforce bylaws?

Letter to the Editor,
Thank you for the opportunity to publicly address an issue which has been a private concern of mine for some time.
I refer to the level & style of policing we have come to expect, as provided locally by the Ontario Provincial Police.
In these time of Provincial Downloading, and given the now direct correlation between Municipal Tax Dollars and Policing; the question arises...”Are we receiving the service we want for the money we pay”?: In my opinion, the answer is no!
While conceding that the scope of police work is broad & multifaceted, and much goes on behind the scenes at various times: the following is also true.
Much of the local officers’ time is obviously spent in a discretionary manner; as can be witnessed by the number of times I have personally been met or passed by a speeding cruiser, only to encounter it again tucked into a hiding place, ready to pounce on the next unwary motorist that catches their eye; or strategically parked in the vicinity of a local watering hole, taking note of the activities there.
While we would agree that “presence” is an important element of police work; deterrence is one thing, harassment is another!
Another aspect of (what must be regarded as) Police Policy which disturbs me, is their “hands-off” approach to all things associated with Municipal By-Laws.
Municipal councils pass these By-laws in an effort to make their towns pleasant, orderly places to live. They are then faced with the unenviable task of trying to enforce these By-laws with little or no resources to work with.
If a small town even has a By-law officer, it is often a part time, mostly symbolic title where that person has little or no training, and many other hats to wear during a day.
While most Municipal By-laws are passed under the Authority of the Municipal Act; the process used to enforce them is prescribed by the Provincial Offenses Act (in most cases), as are such things as driving & hunting laws.
OPP personnel are Provincial Offenses Officers and thanks to our tax dollars, are as highly trained and well outfitted as any Police Force anywhere.
Why, then are they unwilling to exercise their authority with regard to Municipal By-Laws? Could it be that an elitist mindset is in place which relegates such thins as Dog Complaints or vandelism as something not worthy of their involvement?
These questions are posed in an effort to open a dialogue on these matters.
I call upon Municipal leaders, Provincial Politicians and the powers that be within the OPP to take steps, and to initiate changes which will maximize the use of this valuable (and expensive) resource.
Perhaps, one day we can again give credence to the motto "To Protect And Serve".
Yours truly
David LeClaire
Rural Mathieu Twp.