Not with a bang, but with a Valentine

(Mayor David Henderson listens to Wednesday's OPP presentation.)

It’s over.”

That was the assessment of one longtime Citizens Offering Police Support (COPS) member as I walked out of tonight’s long-awaited presentation of the Ontario Provincial Police costing.

From the point of view of Brockville Police Service supporters, there are obvious grounds for optimism, in the form of a notice of motion, to be debated February 14, to reject the OPP proposal.

That motion, barring an improbable turn of Valentine’s Day events, will be the actual fatal blow, if the chances of Brockville going OPP didn’t in fact die with the train collision of the facilities report, or when Sgt. Gilbert Cadieux, of the OPP’s municipal policing bureau, announced tonight that the provincial force would not be presenting a separate costing that includes a 24/7 front desk.

Either of those two reversals might have been enough to keep our badges from changing, but any chance of that happening was finished off with the presentation of the numbers which, to my surprise I must admit, came in higher than the current cost of the Brockville force.

So much for the lowball tactic.

I refer to the frequently levelled charge that the OPP, if given the opportunity to present a proposal, would lowball the price to reel municipalities in, then hike it a few years later once the badges have been changed.

It’s a tactic a small majority believed the OPP would use, according to our unscientific poll in 2013.

(Despite the date indicated, this poll actually appeared in a July 30, 2013 story.)

Instead, we have been presented tonight with a proposal that comes in slightly higher than the current force’s operating costs – and that’s before one-time costs are factored in, and before the three-year transition is up and that cost reverts to the OPP’s regular billing model.

And we won't even mention that building...

If we were expecting the OPP to come in with a sales job, this was a pretty lousy one.

But then, the OPP always insisted they don’t do sales jobs, and tonight’s fiscally brutal figures would tend to confirm that claim, along with the outright unwillingness to indulge the local preference for round-the-clock front desks over unmanned telephones.

The Ontario Provincial Police, it turns out, places fiscal conscientiousness above territorial expansion.

At least, it did so in our case, and so Brockvile’s four-year political drama over policing ends not with a bang, but a whimper and a box of chocolates.