Sunday, October 2, 2011

Been Wondering About Policing In Eastern Ontario?

Because I know all my readers have been dying for a brief run down on law enforcement operating in Eastern Ontario, and since I'm a criminal defence lawyer in Cornwall, Brockville, Alexandria and elsewhere in the area, I thought I would offer some pointers on knowing who the players are. It's a bit more complicated than in some big cities, where just one police services looks after everything (or almost everything). But it is pretty typical of the layers of criminal and regulatory law enforcement which exist in many countries with a federal systems of government.

First, we've got the Ontario Provincial Police operating several rural detachments. They're the third largest police service in Canada (after the RCMP and Toronto Police), boasting around 5,500 officers, about 1000 of whom are based in what they call the "East Region." They patrol all the major highways, the towns without police services, and the countryside. Personally, I find them very responsive because they provide local, small town service backed by provide-wide resources.

First OPP Highway Patrol Car 1941 Chevy

Second, we've got the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. To my readers outside of Canada, they're probably the ones you've heard of. While they have a presence all over Canada, including at the training academy in Regina where I've taught, in Ontario they don't do "response" policing. They limit themselves to "federal" policing, including in my area operating the Cornwall Regional Taskforce devoted in large part to border smuggling issues. In addition to their land vehicles, they have a long history of operating aircraft and vessels - including one called the Nicholson which I used to ride around in as H.M.C.S. Nicholson after its transfer to the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve where I served as a Master Seaman.

We also have the Cornwall Community Police Service, which while only policing within the boundaries of the City of Cornwall, still deploys almost 100 officers.

Last, but not least, is the Canada Border Service Agency who controls customs and immigration entry and exit for Canada, and whose primary location in my area is near the Cornwall international border crossing. We also have lots of other regulatory enforcement agencies operating in the area, but the CBSA is by far the largest presence.

CBSA Detector Dog Program

Feel better, now that you've been able to start your collection of law enforcement trading cards?