Cobourg Police Annual Report

A special Council meeting was held Monday May 3rd to receive the Annual Police Report. Presentations by Chair Dean Pepper and Chief Paul Vandegraaf summarized the glossy 44 page report (see link below). The report mostly covers achievements and partners but does include some of the closely watched numbers. Because of the pandemic, some numbers were down and others increased – the virus did not stop criminals. Councillor comments after the presentations praised Police performance, the use of tiered Policing and asked about body-worn cameras and what was being done about graffiti – more on this below. The force – sorry, “Service” – consists of 18 Auxiliary Police (volunteers), 20 Special Constables as well as 35 “sworn” or regular constables. During the year, as well as replacing a constable who resigned, a communications coordinator was hired – Lisa Munday.

<strong>Cobourg Police Services Board members (l-r) Sean Graham, Mayor John Henderson, Chair Dean Pepper, Vice-Chair Dr. Ron Kerr, Councillor Aaron Burchat</strong>
Cobourg Police Services Board members (l-r) Sean Graham, Mayor John Henderson, Chair Dean Pepper, Vice-Chair Dr. Ron Kerr, Councillor Aaron Burchat

Activity was slightly less in 2020, probably because of the pandemic – there were 10,994 calls for service compared to 11,391 in 2019.


Police continued to enforce laws on drugs, charged 17 people and confiscated $86K worth of drugs (fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine) plus money related to drug trafficking. The 82 grams of fentanyl seized by CPS in 2020 represents up to 1,642 individual sales.


Police continued to partner with:

  • MHEART community mental health provider
  • Venture 13 Police Tech Accelerator. A joint initiative of the Cobourg Police Service (CPS) and Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC). Helps develop innovative technology useful to Police everywhere. See full report for examples.
  • Rebound – A youth program
  • Cornerstone – supports female victims of domestic violence
  • Food-Bank and Salvation Army supported by Cram-a-cruiser

Corporate Services

The largest wholesaler of online Third-Party Criminal Record Checks in Canada. The main role of Corporate Services is to process criminal background checks via Third party Companies across Canada for applicants who are looking for employment or volunteering. Funding to operate the Corporate Services Division of the CPS is 100% generated through revenue. In 2020, the revenue was $3,500,000 and in addition to paying for itself, it paid for all Police Capital spending.

The Numbers

Police jokes often talk about the paperwork – and it’s true. Police provide reports on many of their activities.

  • Use of Force: 31 in 2020 vs 19 in 2019
  • Complaints: 11 in 2020 vs 12 in 2019 – of these, 7 were made by the Chief, that is, were internal. Only 4 complaints were made by the public.
  • Strip Search: 27 – divided by race: 21 white, 4 black, 1 indigenous, 1 not listed; divided by gender: 21 male 6 female; all adult. Evidence found in 1 case.





Corporate services has been supporting Police Capital Expenditures for some time. Since 2004, the total spent on Police Capital by Corporate Services is $7,434,296:

  • Office Equipment: $509,405
  • Computer Upgrades: $378,155
  • Uniform/Equipment: $411,877
  • Radio System: $249,273
  • Vehicles: $776,057
  • Building: $2,550,947
  • Community: $82,486
  • Venture 13: $2,476,096

Without Corporate Services, these expenditures would have been carried by the taxpayer dollars OR may not have been completed.

In 2020, the capital budget was $158K (fully funded by Corporate services); 38% of this went to IT and 62% went to equipment.


On the payroll are 35 uniform personnel, 20 special constables and 47 civilians.

Most of the budget of $8M goes to salaries and benefits for these (83%). 78% of the $8M comes from Cobourg taxpayers, 11% comes from recoveries and grants and 11% from Corporate Services revenue.

Councillor Questions

  • Councillor Emily Chorley asked for the status on body cameras. The chief responded that the Province has put deployment on hold pending a report on Privacy issues. The Cobourg plan should be completed by August 2021 in time for budget deliberations and potential deployment in 2022.
  • Councillor Darling asked what was being done re speeding. The Chief said it was not a big issue although there were statistics available and these would be provided next year. The Chief also responded to a question on Graffiti. He commented that the new CCTV program should help and noted that despite public thinking that this was a teenager problem, recent arrests were males in their 20’s.
  • Councillor Emily Chorley commented that there had been little to no public input on the 2021 Police budget. Chair Dean Pepper said that there would be a public meeting this year.

I would make a couple of comments on the overall tone of the meeting: The Chief was very supportive of his team (as always) and Council was happy with their performance. Transparency seems to be good. The full report is worth reading.


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10 May 2021 9:16 am

Better use of the services and expeditious response to the crime , More does not equate to Better , Efficient or Effective .
We already know half the Police cameras in town are not fully operating
the Resident group I belong to are constantly told to take photos and have video security
up and operating not much we can do with out witnesses or video is the standard response
a few strategically placed resident Cameras on John st might not hurt .
We know where the Red light runners are most prevalent and the Noisy Hotrodders are
So why no be there at those locations and times a camera ,chair , coffee and a officer or special constable It doesn’t always require a task force in vehicles . Oh don’t forget to get the licence plate # in my day if you got a few fines and lost Point s up went your insurance and
and eventually you smartened up or had to retry your Drivers Lic.
And what’s with the lack of Noise Violations ?

Reply to  Sandpiper
10 May 2021 10:24 am

a few strategically placed resident Cameras on John st might not hurt .”Are you suggesting cameras be directed at a private residence without a warrant? My second question is, why do you think the police should be responsible for security at the group home. Would that not be an expense to be paid by whatever NGO or government agency that operates the institution? Your paragraph starting with “So why no be there at those locations and times a camera ,chair , coffee and a officer or special constable…” Would you please be able to provide clarification? 

Reply to  Gerald
12 May 2021 8:30 am

No I was suggesting Private resident s / groups Neighbourhood watch place camera s on their properties , taking in what’s theirs possibly some of their affected neighbours and street scape where concerns abound they need to help each other . The police will only take an aggressive approach if you hand them over the evidence where the can catch the criminals on film these days .
Do you think the Big Drug Bust they refer to that took place probably on George St would have happened if it were not a local Business person and a half dozen Neighbours getting fired up over the lack of Police action at this local over the prior 2 yrs.
Catch them in the Act , Police come after the Fact.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Sandpiper
10 May 2021 1:14 pm

Sandpiper, Cobourg Bylaw 102-2015 appears to prohibit resident owned cameras that photograph the street.

Just Wondering
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 May 2021 5:53 pm

It would be interesting to determine how this is an enforceable bylaw as public photography is perfectly legal.

Last edited 1 year ago by Just Wondering
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Just Wondering
11 May 2021 8:06 am

That was the gist of my discussion with the since departed Councillor who proposed that bylaw. The same bylaw prohibits “fortified” windows and doors. That may become a requirement since, based on job advertisements, we appear to be getting a second Transition House in Cobourg.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ken Strauss
Reply to  Just Wondering
11 May 2021 8:36 am

It depends. On the topic of taking pictures in public and publishing or distributing them. Interesting reading.

10 May 2021 8:36 am

The more Police Service the better- with what the world, this country, province, county and our town endure!

10 May 2021 8:33 am

In the comments below there is ‘information’ about increasing the number of units at an address on John St. I have heard that there is an application to the Town to ‘add’ more units. I do not know if this means allowing more people to live in an existing building or to build and addition. I have also heard that there is the possibility of using the Masonic Lodge for some kind of housing. Perhaps similar to Transition House. Regardless if any of this is true, there are people with drug problems committing crimes and generally causing issues for other people. It is not easy to fund a drug habit without a job. What portion of the offences listed above are related to drug addiction? How does a drug addict stop using and find work? It is not the job of the Police to solve the problem of drug addiction, they just deal with the symptoms.

Lemon Cake
10 May 2021 8:30 am

Wow…. the big stand out for me – 33% of total capital expenditures between 2004 and 2020 have been allocated to Venture13 projects. So, $2.5 million. I’d welcome more details here around investments in specific projects – what is being spent on hard costs vs. consulting costs related to each one? Who is getting the funding? How are the funding decisions being made? Who makes the decisions? Is it an arms length process? How do these projects support the future of policing in Cobourg – is there a strategy for adoption of these technologies within the force? Projected ROI? Overall strategy here? This should be a much much bigger part of the annual report.

Reply to  Lemon Cake
10 May 2021 12:58 pm

Don’t you know the connection between Venture 13 tenants and the Cobourg Police Services Board?

Reply to  Kyle
10 May 2021 1:37 pm

What connection?

Reply to  Lemon Cake
10 May 2021 1:35 pm

Lemon Cake:
You wrote “…been allocated to Venture13 projects…” How did you come to that conclusion? What specific projects? What investments?

As outlined in my comment below to Leweez, The $2.5M was, in part, spent by the cops to renovate the 2nd floor of V13 for their use (leasehold improvements). Some was used for furniture, fixtures and computers. An estimated $700K-$1M was “loaned” to Northam (Town) to pay for general renovations to the V13 building. The “loan” is considered to be prepaid rent.

I agree however, that there should be much better transparency and disclosure
regarding these transactions.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
10 May 2021 3:23 pm

“prepaid rent”?
Funny, I don’t remember the Venture13 project being sold to us that way. Weren’t we told that the CPS business unit was going to spend their money on their renovations. Didn’t hear any talk of “prepaid rent” back then. Does CFDC pay any rent? Who actually put up money to get that project off the ground?
3 years ago we were told that building 13 in Northam Park was costing us $90,000/year to maintain. How much now?

Reply to  Frenchy
10 May 2021 4:22 pm

You’re correct. It wasn’t.
The “loan” came about as the project was in progress. Keep in mind that the cops money is the Town’s money. Much easier to “borrow” internally than go outside. Not sure when the decision was made to not “repay” the cops and “convert” the “loan” to “prepaid rent”

Per the 2021 Cobourg budget pg 294-299 V13:
CFDC rent $15K
V13 Transient tenants $55K
Cops’ Corporate Services utilities recovery $45K
Town’s ECDEV dept $15K

Total “revenue” is $130K of which $60K is internal transfer
V13 payroll is $134K
Net cost to the Town: $204K

The cops’ Corporate Services budget is on pg 72-74.
It does not include revenue or rent

Last edited 1 year ago by Bryan
Cobourg taxpayer
8 May 2021 3:45 pm

I would like to see a comparison between number of police officers and special constables on the payroll annually over the last 20 years also the annual population of Cobourg each year. Also useful would be the average salary each year of the officers and tally of calls/crimes/ cases each year. My perception is the number of officers/constables have increased and salaries have increased at a greater rate then population growth and taxpayer base. What I am unsure of is crime rate each year. Has crime increased in Cobourg at a rate that requires this size of police force?

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
9 May 2021 12:49 pm

Cobourg Taxpayer: As I understand it, our population has not changed dramatically since 1992. With that said, the demographics of that population has changed significantly.(older) So has our labour participation rate.(huge decline) Pubic sector wages have increased dramatically and private sector wages have remained without change in those 3 decades…..
As for salaries of our Police Service–most of that and a decade worth of history, can be accessed on our Sunshine list: see link below: Tab 20. Policing is now –by far–our largest Town expense and many towns in similar situations have explored the possibility of the OPP taking on Town policing. In fairness, over the past 30 years the Justice system has dramatically changed and the types of crime have evolved too. I suspect the world of Policing is far more difficult today.
I really don’t know if a Town like ours that can’t decide whether to have a beach or an ice rink open or closed from week to week can ever make a decision so dramatic as local vs OPP.
With all that said–as a taxpayer myself, I was totally impressed the Report that was presented. The fact they have created a profit centre over at V13 also is totally impressive to me. (just sayin’..)

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 May 2021 1:56 pm

Cobourg Taxpayer:

You wrote “…to see a comparison between number of police officers and special constables on the payroll annually over the last 20 years also the annual population of Cobourg each year...”

The data is available in the Town’s Financial Information Report (FIR) filed each year with the province. Have at it and please share your findings and conclusions.

Eilert Frerichs
7 May 2021 5:18 pm

35 uniformed police officers in Cobourg means that there is one uniformed officers for roughly every 550 inhabitants; add 20 special constables, that means one officers for roughly every 350 citizens. Are we that criminally inclined in this town or are we way over-policed? Perhaps we need to think about defunding the police service.

Reply to  Eilert Frerichs
9 May 2021 3:11 pm

We are likely overfunded for the law abiding citizens that dont have reason to call or have continual interaction with the force. The force is likely still not adequately staffed to deal with repeat offenders and drugs that make their way into to the community as well as the crime. Eilert takes a a very simply approach to justify his/her point.

Reply to  Eilert Frerichs
10 May 2021 9:12 am

To defund the police is nothing but a load of crap.

7 May 2021 3:22 pm

Let’s drop the speed limit….any where in the city limits of Cobourg….to 40 km/hr. This might help?

7 May 2021 12:43 pm

Talk about the HOLDCO slush fund. Are Police Services Board meeting minutes posted for the public like other Boards do?

Reply to  Kyle
7 May 2021 3:34 pm

What is this talk of a slush fund?

Reply to  Leweez
7 May 2021 7:35 pm

The surplus from the Police Corporate Services (criminal check business) is referred to some as the Police Slush Fund. The police capital expenses (vehicles, radios, computers, guns, etc) are funded by the net income (surplus) of the business. The operations expenses are outlined in the Town’s operations budget, pg 72-74.
Year to date (YTD actual) 2020: $2,302,220, 2019: $2,114,383
The information is not complete however.
Missing, are the revenue amounts, estimated to be in the $3.5-4.5M range (not disclosed per CFO Ian Davey for reasons that are “weak” in my opinion).
Also not included is the rent paid to Northam for the facility at V13. A substantial portion of the $2.5M listed as V13 capital spending was a “loan” to the Town (Northam) to help pay for the building refurbishment. The amount of this “loan” has not been disclosed. It is considered to be “prepaid rent”, but the term and conditions have not been disclosed, nor is the amount reported in the budget..

The Police Capital Budget is not disclosed as part of the Town’s capital budget.

The total net surplus (net income less capital expenses) is not disclosed, nor is the total of the related reserve fund.

It should be noted that ALL of the police operations belongs to the Town. These are TOWN revenues and expenses.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
8 May 2021 4:48 pm

Our new CAO said she was going to look into that whole mess but I haven’t heard anything.

Reply to  Frenchy
8 May 2021 5:14 pm

At the budget meetings the DM asked about the “rent”. The CAO made note and said she would look into it. An item on her do list, but not a high priority one.
A bit of patience is needed. There are more urgent and important matters for her to attend to.
I’m confident CAO Vaughan will get it done.

Reply to  Kyle
8 May 2021 5:59 pm


The CPSB holds a public meeting once a month
The meeting dates are listed at

Scroll down a page.

The agenda and minutes are available on escribe

7 May 2021 9:06 am

I don’t think increasing the number of units at 151 John st will make for a safer neighborhood

Reply to  Jones
7 May 2021 5:08 pm

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is all wrong. We tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.” 
— Mark Twain 

Reply to  Jones
7 May 2021 6:49 pm


151 John St: What is this?
I could not locate this civic address.

Reply to  Bryan
7 May 2021 7:31 pm

Ask the police
They are there a lot

Reply to  Jones
7 May 2021 9:12 pm

Don’t be a smart ass.
The question was asked honestly.
It deserves an honest respectful answer

Reply to  Jones
8 May 2021 6:28 am

You have the wrong address

Reply to  Jones
8 May 2021 7:47 am

Informed, perhaps not a really name, states that Jones has the wrong address. Jones, if that is your real name, I think the address you are referring to is 351 John St. JimT quoted Mark Twain, if that is a real name, about eggs in one basket. When the ‘eggs’ or ‘bad eggs’ are in one basket they are easier to watch. There is another address, not far away, with other ‘bad eggs’. On King St., near Division, there is a building with several notices. The notices are to ‘bad eggs’ not to be on the property. This is perhaps related to problems that have occured at that address. There is more than one ‘basket’. Unfortunately there are ‘bad eggs’ and if they are removed from the ‘baskets’ where will they go? What category is bicycle theft? Robbery? I know of half a dozen bicycle thefts on Chapel, John, Spencer and Anne Streets in the past year.

Reply to  Kevin
8 May 2021 9:04 am

I am pretty confident that Mark Twain was a real name for a real person. He is quoted as saying; ““Behold, the fool saith, “Put not all thine eggs in the one basket” – which is but a matter of saying, “Scatter your money and your attention”; but the wise man saith, “Pull all your eggs in the one basket and – WATCH THAT BASKET.” – Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar.”
― Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

PS: The name noted for this post is my real name, should that matter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerald
Reply to  Gerald
8 May 2021 5:05 pm

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 to 1910), known by pen name Mark Twain.

Reply to  Kevin
8 May 2021 9:11 am

I remember John St.
We lived there for a brief time after my mother accidentally set fire to our house south of Albert St. in the dead of winter and burned it down.
I was in the house at the time.
It all happened a long time ago.
Then we moved on.
I am not making this up!

Reply to  Jones
8 May 2021 9:08 am


You wrote “…increasing the number of units at 151 John St….”
Where is 151 John St?
Has a zoning/ building application been submitted?
Who is proposing “increasing the number of units at 151 John St?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Jones
8 May 2021 1:25 pm

There is no 151 John Street.