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Nonetheless, five applicants did not make it, which still raised flags among WN personnel. Bédard was asked to clarify the process. The phrase ‘member in good standing’ seems to be the starting point. Indeed, the OPP has said they plan to hire all uniformed officers who are ‘in good standing’, which means after a review of their personnel file and an interview. This is much less onerous than the regular OPP hiring process, which requires physical and mental testing. The local officers would by-pass that process, and be hired as long as their professional record is clean.

“The benefit of an experienced police officer is that there is a lot of work they’ve done … there is enough information in a person’s career to see how they’ve done, education, schooling… The Career Development Bureau goes to meet with all officers, explains how to fill the application, what’s relevant, what’s not. Every officer would have questions; our recruiters put themselves out there to answer questions up front,” Bédard explains.

While he says “unabashedly, we have high standards,” he thinks WN officers will have little difficulty meeting that standard. “When I meet colleagues from different police services, I assume we’re all at the same level of professionalism. We’re equals. I kind of expect that from the WNPS – I expect them all to be equals. I don’t know what would get in the way.”

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OPP gives reassurance as to future of WN officers

by Isabel Mosseler

Panic struck members of the WN Police Service and many local residents last week as a report surfaced out of Midland, Ontario claiming that half of that community’s police officers were rejected by the OPP, who are slated to take over policing there this month. As the alarming headline was shared widely across social media, people wondered if the same fate would befall local officers as they wait for the OPP to take over policing in West Nipissing. While OPP have consistently said they plan to hire the local officers, the news was causing uncertainty and, according to some sources, sapping morale among WNPS staff.

The Tribune addressed the issue with Commander Marc Bédard of the OPP Municipal Policing Bureau, reminding him that during the costing process, the public was told WN officers would be able to transition to the OPP and that the process would not be onerous. “We allow every frontline officer to apply to the OPP. In Midland, some chose not to apply,” clarifies Cdr. Bédard. “In Midland’s case, 18 [out of 23] frontline officers applied and 13 were accepted.”

He says he doesn’t know where the figures in the media came from. “We’re happy to say that on February 8 at 6pm, we’ll be policing with 13 Midland officers who are now OPP and whatever [additional] officers from the greater OPP are required to police the town.”