Ontario Provincial Police

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Coordinates: 44°34′58″N 79°25′47″W / 44.5827949°N 79.4297702°W / 44.5827949; -79.4297702

Ontario Provincial Police
Police provinciale de l'Ontario
Abbreviation OPP
OPP Crest.jpg
Heraldic badge of the OPP
Ontario Provincial Police Logo.svg
Shoulder flash of the OPP
Ontario Provincial Police logo.png
OPP flag
Motto Safe Communities, A Secure Ontario
Agency overview
Formed October 13, 1909[1]
Employees 7,383
Volunteers 853 Auxiliary Constables[2]
Annual budget $1,003,014,800 (2012–13)[3]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Province of Ontario, Canada
Governing body The Queen in Right of Ontario
Constituting instrument Police Services Act of Ontario[4]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 777 Memorial Ave, Orillia, Ontario
Police Constables 5,618[2]
Civilians 1,765[2]
Elected officer responsible Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Agency executive Vince (J.V.N.) Hawkes, Commissioner
Facilities
Stations 163
Website
www.opp.ca
Footnotes
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P.) (French: Police provinciale de l'Ontario) is the Provincial Police service for the province of Ontario, Canada.

Overview[edit]

The OPP is the largest deployed police force in Ontario, and the second largest in Canada. The service is responsible for providing policing services throughout the province in areas lacking local police forces. It also provides specialized support to smaller municipal police forces, investigates province-wide and cross-jurisdictional crimes, patrols provincial highways (including Ontario's 400-Series Highways) and is responsible for law enforcement on many of the waterways in the province. The OPP also works with other provincial agencies, including the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Natural Resources to enforce highway safety and conservation regulations, respectively. Finally, OPP officers provide security at the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto.

The OPP is one of three provincial police forces in Canada. The others are the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Sûreté du Québec in Quebec.

History[edit]

OPP Headquarters
Old Ontario Provincial Police Headquarters

At the First Parliament of Upper Canada on September 17, 1792, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, provision was made for the formation of a 'police system'. Initially, policing jurisdictions were limited to districts, townships, and parishes. In 1845, a Mounted Police Force was created, in order to keep the peace in areas surrounding the construction of public works.[5] It became the Ontario Mounted Police Force after Confederation.

In 1877, the Constables Act extended jurisdiction and gave designated police members authorization to act throughout the province.[6] The first salaried Provincial Constable appointed to act as Detective for the Government of Ontario was John Wilson Murray (1840–1906), hired on a temporary appointment in 1875 which was made permanent upon passage of the 1877 Act. Murray was joined by two additional detectives in 1897, marking the beginnings of the Criminal Investigation Branch. However, for the most part, policing outside of Ontario's cities was non-existent.

With the discovery of silver in Cobalt and gold in Timmins, lawlessness was increasingly becoming a problem in northern Ontario. Police constables were gradually introduced in various areas,[7] until an Order in Council decreed the establishment of a permanent organization of salaried constables designated as The Ontario Provincial Police Force on October 13, 1909.[8] It consisted of 45 men under the direction of Superintendent Joseph E. Rogers. The starting salary for constables was $400.00 per annum, increased to $900.00 in 1912. The first O.P.P. detachment was located in Bala, Ontario.

In the 1920s, restructuring was undertaken with the passing of The Provincial Police Force Act, 1921.[9] The title of the commanding officer was changed to Commissioner and given responsibility for enforcing the provisions of The Ontario Temperance Act[10] and other liquor regulations. Major-General Harry Macintyre Cawthra-Elliot was appointed as the first Commissioner.

The O.P.P.'s first line of duty death occurred in 1923 when escaped convict Leo Rogers shot and killed Sergeant John Urquhart near North Bay. Rogers, who was later killed in a shootout with O.P.P. officers, had already mortally wounded North Bay City Constable Fred Lefebvre.

The first O.P.P. motorcycle patrol was introduced in 1928, phased out in 1942 and then reintroduced in 1949. The first marked O.P.P. patrol car was introduced in 1941.

During World War II, the Veterans Guard was formed. This was a body of volunteers (primarily World War I veterans), under the supervision of regular police members, protected vulnerable hydroelectric plants and the Welland Ship Canal.

In the late 1940s, policing functions were reorganized in Ontario, with the O.P.P. given responsibility for all law enforcement in the Province outside areas covered by municipal police forces, together with overall authority for law enforcement on the King's Highways, enforcement of the provincial liquor laws, aiding the local police and maintaining a criminal investigation branch.[11]

Volunteers continue to serve with the O.P.P. Auxiliary, which was originally formed in 1960 by an Order in Council when the program absorbed the Emergency Measures Organization who were trained in crowd control and first aid. It is recognized that O.P.P. auxiliary constables shall not be utilized to replace regular members in any duties, but the Police Services Act does provide for instances when the Auxiliary Member may have the authority of a Police Officer.[12] This can occur in an emergency situation where the O.P.P. requires additional strength to cope with a special occasion or event.[13]

Women joined the uniform ranks in 1974.

In 1985, the O.P.P. uniform was made more distinctive with the introduction of a blue trouser stripe to match a blue peak cap band.

In 1995, General Headquarters moved into its new facility in Orillia and for the first time in the history of the organization, all Bureaus were in one building.

During the 1990s, officer uniforms changed with darker shirts and matching body armour vests were introduced. In the early years the OPP wore olive green coloured uniforms.

From 1909 to 1930s, the OPP used stetson as the official headgear and from 1997 to 2008. From 1930s to 1997 the peaked cap was worn and has been returned to service after 2008. During 1997 to 2008, the peaked cap was still worn by commanding officers of the force.

Organization and operations[edit]

The Ontario Provincial Police is responsible for providing policing services over one million square kilometres of land and 174,000 km2 of water to a population of 2.3 million people (3.6 million in the summer months). Currently, the O.P.P. has over 6,100 uniformed, 850 auxiliary and 2,700 civilian personnel(2010).[2] The vehicle fleet consists of 2,290 vehicles, 114 marine vessels, 286 snow and all-terrain vehicles, two helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft.

The province is divided into six operational regions:

Field and operational services are provided from 163 police stations and satellite locations throughout Ontario. OPP stations are called "detachments".

The OPP General Headquarters are located in Orillia. Until 1995, the administration and headquarters divisions operated out of a number of buildings in Toronto. From 1973 to 1995 the headquarters were based out of the old Workmen's Compensation Board Building at 90 Harbour Street (now being demolished). Operations were moved to Orillia as part of a government move to decentralize ministries and operations to other parts of Ontario. The first home in Orillia was Tudhope Building, formerly home to Tudhope Carriage and Motor Company (and now Orillia City Hall).

In 1922, the OPP headquarters was on the second floor of the Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto.[14]

Detachments[edit]

Current police stations ("Detachments") of the Ontario Provincial Police[15]

Legislative Security Service[edit]

The Legislative Security Service consists of Special Constables who provide security services to the Legislative Precinct (Legislature Building and Whitney Block) and report to the Sergeant-at-Arms.[16]

Training[edit]

All recruits attend the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario and complete their training at OPP facilities in Orillia. Historically, new recruits were trained in a variety of facilities in and around Toronto until the OPP Training and Development Centre was opened in Brampton in 1981. It remained in operation until 1998, when training moved to the Orillia headquarters.

Rank[edit]

Rank Structure within the OPP is paramilitary or quasi-military in nature, with several "non-commissioned" ranks leading to the "officer" ranks. Contrary to popular belief, the Detective ranks fall laterally with the uniform ranks and is not a promotion above.

Auxiliary Program[edit]

The OPP has among its many initiatives an auxiliary program. The Ontario Provincial Police Auxiliary program follows a mission statement: “To provide fully trained volunteer Auxiliary Members to perform police duties in special circumstances, including emergencies, when there are not sufficient OPP police officers.”[17] The OPP auxiliary is a volunteer program where selected citizens receive special training in order to perform many duties such as community policing initiatives and projects, regular patrol, crime and disaster scenes, large gatherings or parades for crowd and traffic control, and traffic control at accidents.[18] The Ontario Provincial Police auxiliary program is the only such Canadian program that requires its auxiliary constables to attend a full-time recruit course conducted near its regular training facility in Orillia.[18] This is followed by ongoing in-service training at the detachments. The program may also serve as a stepping stone for potential future employment. The OPP Auxiliary has an authorised strength of over 900 auxiliary constables and is the largest police auxiliary unit in Ontario.

Fleet[edit]

Ground[edit]

The OPP's first squad car
Previous colour-scheme used until 2007
Current OPP cruiser with black & white graphics

In 2007, the OPP announced that it would return to a black-and-white colour scheme for its police cruisers.[4] Historically, the force had used black-and-white vehicles from the introduction of the first marked police cars in 1941 to 1989 when all-white cars with blue and gold striping were introduced. The change was implemented starting in March 2007 and should have been complete in 2009. Cars will not be repainted, but new vehicles purchased will use the original colour scheme.[dated info]

The OPP has approximately 1,200 patrol cars in service throughout the province. Common models include the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor and Chevrolet Tahoe. Various vans and SUVs are used as support vehicles including 52 prisoner transport vehicles that are specially designed to transport up to 24 prisoners at a time. Harley Davidson FL motorcycles are used for traffic patrol in the summer months and at least 1 SRT Viper is used for Highway Patrol.[5] The implementation of the SAVE[disambiguation needed] units has brought ATVs into the forefront of proactive policing of recreational activities.

The OPP has 2 Cambli International Thunder 1 armoured rescue vehicles since 2012 for [19] shared by 3 Tactics and Rescue Units in the province.

Aviation[edit]

Maritime[edit]

  • LIMESTONE 350 Chevrolet Engine marine vessel
  • Harbourcraft 17/19 ft. marine vessels
  • LOWE Sea Nymph 25 hp Mercury Marine vessel
  • Seaswirl 21–24 ft. marine vessels
  • Boston Whaler 21 ft. Justice Series
  • Hike Marine launches in various lengths ranging from 19–32 ft. and based on Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes areas.

UAV[edit]

  • Draganflyer X6 UAV helicopter by Draganfly Innovations[20]
  • FIU-301 UAS—UAV plane

Weapons[edit]

OPP in pop culture[edit]

The Beatles folklore[edit]

The Beatles's 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band contains cover art with Paul McCartney wearing an OPP patch on his fictional uniform (more easily seen in the gatefold picture). The patch was given to John Lennon the day after their 1966 concert in Toronto by a summer student working in the garage of the OPP Headquarters. The group was being transferred to a police van for the trip to the airport.

Many "Paul Is Dead" enthusiasts have misread the patch as "OPD" (the way the patch was slightly bent on McCartney's sleeve in the gatefold picture, the bottom of the "P" was not visible) and took it to mean "Officially Pronounced Dead".

Habbo Hotel[edit]

On the online social networking website Habbo Hotel Canada, O.P.P. officers and spokespersons visit the online application to talk to teens on board the web site's "Infobus". During the weekly sessions, users of the Habbo service are able to ask the officers and spokespersons questions, primarily regarding online safety. During the Infobus sessions, the O.P.P. officer talks to the users within the bus about cyberbullying and online safety. The O.P.P. officer holding the session users staff specific tools to ask questions to the whole bus so a more direct answer can be given. This is by using the quiz tool in which users must vote on a multiple choice question which appears in an in-game pop-up. The O.P.P. officers' Habbo account is also given moderation powers to control the bus behavior. The O.P.P. officer ingame account is given the CAA badge. (CAA relates to the badge code used when uploading into the badge directory for the Hotels. The "CA" section of the badge relates to the Hotel and the "A" relates to it being the tenth badge to have been uploaded with the "CA" prefix.) This allows users to recognize them whilst in the game and it is this badge that gives them the housekeeping powers needed to run the Quiz Tool.

Other instances[edit]

In the Canadian horror film Pontypool, the O.P.P. is called into the eponymous town to control a zombie outbreak, ultimately resulting in a massacre. The response of the government to this outbreak draws many parallels to Canadian separatist movements. The film's lead character, Grant Mazzy, vocally denounces the O.P.P.'s actions on the radio.

Kim Mitchell regularly wore an O.P.P. hat as part of his visual trademark in the 80s and early 90s, mostly to cover up his male-pattern baldness. He has long since adopted the practice of shaving his head, thus eliminating the need for the hat.

In the 1992 Degrassi film, School's Out, OPP cars are shown at the scene of a car accident involving Derek "Wheels" Wheeler and Lucy Fernandez.

Controversy[edit]

Lawsuit for corruption and extortion[edit]

In February 2011, Gerald Guy Brummell filed a $90 million lawsuit[21] against 36 OPP officers, claiming corruption, conspiracy, coverup, extortion and theft. Brummell's claim that OPP continually refused to bring officers to justice was filed as action 11/11 in The Superior Court of Justice in Cobourg, Ontario.

In his action, Brummell claims not only was there an engaged criminal conspiracy to harm him and his family by OPP detectives named, but that the evidence against the officers was their own photographs and notes. He further claims that the OPP used the Professional Standards Bureau, the Anti Rackets Bureau and unnamed members of the Crown Criminal Division to coverup government crimes and obstruct justice.

Following the sentencing of serial killer Russell Williams, OPP Detective Andrew Ben Beatty[22] a key officer named in the Brummell action, was also named in two further lawsuits by "Williams victims" Laurie Massicotte (Holographically) for $7.5 million and Larry Jones for $1.5 million. In the case of Larry Jones, Andrew Beatty and OPP Detective Sergeant Darryl Foulkes executed a warrant upon Jones home, directly next door to serial killer Williams.

In August 2013 the lawsuit filed by Larry and Bonnie Jones against the OPP and Andrew Ben Beatty, as well as Russell Williams, Mary Elizabeth Harriman, Laurie Massicotte and Jonus Kelly was settled[23] out of court, for an undisclosed sum.

Bracebridge OPP ignore rights[edit]

A Toronto lawyer suggests that unlawful police searches are the norm in south Muskoka. Justice J.C. Crawford was in a Bracebridge court where the judge excluded the evidence against his client because members of the Bracebridge, Ontario OPP had obtained it through the warrantless search of a private property. In that situation, the investigating officers drove their vehicle on a private driveway without a warrant or the property owner’s permission in order to take photos of marijuana plants located at the back of a neighbouring property. Citizens of Bracebridge, mostly minors and young adults have complained about unlawful & unnecessary fines handed out as an easy way for officers to meet the end of the month quota.[citation needed]

Further reading[edit]

  • Higley, Dahn (1984). O.P.P.: The history of the Ontario Provincial Police Force. Toronto: Queen's Printer. ISBN 0-7743-8964-8. 
  • Barnes, Michael (1991). Policing Ontario: The OPP Today. Erin: Boston Mills Press. ISBN 1-55046-015-3. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The OPP Museum - Historical Highlights of the Ontario Provincial Police". Ontario Provincial Police. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ontario Provincial Police. "2008 Provincial Business Plan". Retrieved 2009-04-17. [dead link]
  3. ^ http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/estimates/2012-13/volume1/MCSCS_779.html
  4. ^ Ontario Police Services Act
  5. ^ An Act for the better preservation of the Peace, and the prevention of Riots and violent Outrages at and near Public Works while in progress of Construction, S.C. 1845, c. 6, s. 14 , later replaced by The Public Works Peace Preservation Act, S.O. 1910, c. 12, s. 13
  6. ^ An Act respecting Constables, S.O. 1877, c. 20
  7. ^ under The Mines Act, 1906, S.O. 1906, c. 24, s. 190
  8. ^ confirmed by The Constables Act, S.O. 1910, c. 39, s. 17
  9. ^ The Provincial Police Force Act, 1921, S.O. 1921, c. 45
  10. ^ The Ontario Temperance Act, S.O. 1916, c. 50
  11. ^ The Police Act, 1946, S.O. 1946, c. 72, s. 3 , later replaced by The Police Act, 1949, S.O. 1949, c. 72
  12. ^ Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15, s. 52
  13. ^ "Auxiliary Policing". OPP. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  14. ^ http://www.opp100.ca/English/media/documents/backgrounder_long_eng.pdf
  15. ^ "Contact Us". Ontario Provincial Police. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  16. ^ http://www.protectionservices.ca/f41/legislative-security-service-special-constable-queens-park-4336/
  17. ^ Ontario Provincial Police
  18. ^ a b Ontario Provincial Police
  19. ^ http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/2011/09/28/opps_new_ride_armoured_rescue_vehicles.html
  20. ^ http://www.draganfly.com/news/2009/03/26/draganflyer-x6-unmanned-aerial-vehicle-opp-police-applications/
  21. ^ [1]"Trentonian February 2011"
  22. ^ [2] The Intelligencer December 2011
  23. ^ [3]"The Toronto Sun October 2013"

External links[edit]