The OPP confirmed the news Thursday in an email to Radio-Canada, saying “the target for closure is early next year, with a gradual downgrade to be completed by June 2022”. The center serves all of eastern Ontario, from the Quebec border to Trenton, Ontario, and northwest of Algonquin Provincial Park. He responds to emergency and non-emergency 911 calls, dispatching first responders if necessary.
Just over 100 OPP members, mostly civilians, work at the center. The email said the OPP would support everyone affected by the closures, which could include transfers to other locations.
Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow called the closure “a great loss to the community” and a “real disruption” to the employees and their families.
“People who lost their jobs before realizing the uncertainty of the future and the challenges that come with it, and so that’s definitely bad news,” Pankow said.
Mayor hopes to keep employees in Smiths Falls
According to Pankow, the communications center has been in Smiths Falls for almost 20 years. He said the only bright spot is that the shutdown won’t happen until next year, so employees will have time to look for other jobs.
“It’s a really tough thing to do at the best of times, and of course it’s a tough time during a pandemic,” Pankow said.
“I hope we can keep these people in our community. “
The decision to eliminate the communications center “was not taken lightly,” OPP said, and only came after a “full review” of things like workload and facility costs. .
Call-taking and dispatch duties will be transferred to the Orillia, Ontario communications center. The Ontario Provincial Police said there would be no impact on frontline policing.
In a statement, the Ontario Provincial Police Association said it was “in touch with all of our members” and is committed to helping members affected by the impending closure.