A long-time vocal critic of the winding down of the Perth Police Service wants any changes to the OPP contract that would cost the town more in policing charges made public.
Dr. Carl Rubino, in addressing the Perth police services board (PSB) meeting in the town council chambers on Thursday, Oct. 11, asked that a monthly report be delivered to the PSB about police response times be presented once the changeover occurs.
“I have been opposed to giving up the police… since the very beginning,” said Rubino at the top of his presentation. “That’s beside the board (now).”
Rubino commended the Perth Police Service for what he sees as “a fairly quick response time. I want to make sure that that continues” after the OPP switchover. He wanted the report to include the time of the call for assistance, though he noted that once dispatch is moved to the OPP’s communications centre in Smiths Falls, the call could go to an officer who is not patrolling in Perth at that moment. The next time Rubino wanted recorded would be the officer’s arrival time at the scene of the incident.
“The (PSB) board will be essentially gutted, with no input in day-to-day operations,” said Rubino. Even at that, “the PSB, what remains of it, should make a monthly report.”
He was also adamant that changes in the costing that was promised by the OPP in their presentation to the town, which will cost the town more money, “then the public should be informed of said.”
He also wanted a copy of the revised contract open for public scrutiny, “so that nosy people like me could come in and have a look before it is signed.”
Rubino also questioned the methodology used to calculate full time equivalency when police officers move from the old Perth force to the OPP.
Excluding the likes of current Perth police Chief Pat Capello and higher ranking officers, and looking at the 11 Perth officers, Rubino noted that each officer is scheduled to work 2,080 hours per year, of which about 1,700 hours are spent on the street, not taking into account the 1,520 hours of overtime. By his calculations, with all of these numbers considered, Perth actually has the equivalent of 12.2 full time equivalent officers.
The full time equivalent for an OPP officer, by comparison is 1,467 hours. Again, by Rubino’s calculations, at those hours, 14 OPP officers would be required “to have the same levels of service” as is currently enjoyed in Perth.
Working backwards, using the OPP equivalent hours, Rubino calculated that there would only be nine officers serving Perth, a difference of three officers.
“The level of service will be significantly impacted,” said Rubino, no matter which way the numbers are cut.
Stephanie Grey, the chair of the PSB, thanked Rubino for his input but suggested that the upcoming “Section 40,” hearing required to wind down the Perth force would be the best place for him to air his observations.
“That might be best,” Grey said.
Mayor John Fenik remained tight-lipped about his full feelings on Rubino’s presentation.
“I would like to comment but I can’t,” said Fenik. “Some of them (Rubino’s topics) are subject to in-camera negotiations at the moment. I won’t say anything more because I’ll probably say something I will regret.”
Fenik did add that the OPP contract is a public document and so there would be no problem in making it available to the public.