County looking at Northumberland Police Force

At the County Council Meeting on 25 January, Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander made a  motion to “approve a budget of $75,000 to retain a consultant to update the 2007 ‘Policing Study Final Report for Northumberland County’, in order to investigate opportunities for a consolidated police service in Northumberland County.”  His motion was seconded by Cobourg Mayor Lucas Cleveland and passed with the support of Port Hope Mayor Olena Hankivsky and Alnwick/Haldimand Township Mayor John Logel.  In an interview, Lucas said that there are increasing problems with officers being on long term disability because of PTSD and that Cobourg Police are having difficulty with recruiting and that a larger Police force would make it easier to resolve this.  Mayor Cleveland sees this as part of his plan to continually look at ways to save money for the Town.

This would not happen overnight and Lucas suggests that one possible transition would be to start with merging the Port Hope and Cobourg Police forces – this could also happen in a shorter time-frame.

But the first step is to complete the study of costs and benefits and that will now happen.

A report by Northumberland News included an interview with Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander and in that interview, Brian said that an “amalgamated force would save, quite literally, millions of dollars across the county.”  Brian also said “I know that Cobourg is going to be looking at a tremendously expensive new build for their headquarters, which is becoming long in the tooth. They’re looking at a two- or three-year new build for that coming up.”  (This was also reported in Cobourg News Blog here).  It seems that any merger should happen before there is any new building.


This item is also briefly reported in the latest Mayor’s Newsletter – it went out at around 6:00 pm February 3. View it here. If you haven’t signed up already, here is the link to do so

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7 February 2023 8:24 am

Well, I see that the Mayor and Council have reappointed Dean Pepper to Police Services Board. So changes in policing are just lip service and the old white boys club continues.

5 February 2023 5:40 pm

Wonderful news! And it shouldn’t take long to get it organized.
Hopefully we can have this done by year-end. Thank you Mayors Ostrander, Cleveland, Hankivsky and Logel. Great job.

Cobourg Taxpayer
4 February 2023 6:50 pm

What a great idea! Finally the mayors of Cobourg and Port Hope are going to work together! Great news! The PHPS built a new building a few years ago and the amalgamation of both forces could share that. No new police building needed for CPS!! I totally agree with Mayor Cleveland on this issue of PTSD in the CPS and this is finally coming to light. A Northumberland Police force in the future is the way to go.

Reply to  Cobourg Taxpayer
18 February 2023 5:59 am

The PHPS is 20ish members large and the new station is already at max capacity…So try again

4 February 2023 4:34 pm

This proposal has been suggested and defeated beforehand. Northumberland County is much too vast for the motion that was presented and seconded by two area Mayors. The wait times for service would considerably increase.

4 February 2023 1:45 pm

Didn’t we try this before? Cobourg had Hamilton twp. port hope had hope twp, and OPP had the north. It was proved too expensive. If PSTD was suffered on the job, take care of our officers. It seems we’re moving backwards then forward.

4 February 2023 1:23 pm

Say what you will but I don’t envy the new Mayor at all. Ford has downloaded library funding, stormwater costs that his builder buddies used to pay for. He also has to work with a budget that has, in large part, been mismanaged with over-spending by past councils. (Think expensive lifeguard towers and consultants). Add to that nobody wants to give up anything or cut costs.

Last edited 3 months ago by Kathleen
Reply to  Kathleen
4 February 2023 1:39 pm

Unfortunately Kathleen the Provincial government as you said inherited an overspent financial mess from the prior long stitting government. I mentioned before on this Blog that, along with another that the cost of living is rising. There are so many infrastructure upgrades needed along with building rental housing stock, usually the first stop of new citizens and needed for the current population. Seems to have been forgotten as Condos rush up everywhere.

Life Guard towers – if you’re going to have a public beach I don’t see one without them.

You have that one right with a twist though. Nobody wants to accept with COVID, our ill planned and funded services that need growing – health, addictiion services, psychiatric hospitals, highways, housing and others that the cost of living will rise. The Federal government is carrying a big deficit yet mostly I see their funding is more about social spending not working on ensuring Canada can accommodate its growing population. As for the Mayor his suggestions ignore many factors, such as the Town is growing and he should be banging his fist for funding, not cutting, Peterborough has been successful in this.

Last edited 3 months ago by Dave
4 February 2023 12:01 pm

Against the grain as supported by others. Seems like they are taking steps backwards as the Town grows. Public transit called a luxury and now elimination of town police force. Not in favour pulls further away from community policing and more anonymous policing not aware of who the usual suspects are. But then I see many in Cobourg that are not aware the town is growing and changing and the mayor is one of them. Better he first examine the effiency of the town staff themselves and removing the deadwood which all organizations carry.

Reply to  Dave
6 February 2023 9:37 am

Community policing would be part of a broader police service serving all of Northumberland County. This is a good thing for all residents of the county. The towns of Northumberland County are growing and changing as you say, and that is why adapting a broader police service would benefit all. I would hope our MPP David Piccini would advocate for the creation of a Regional Municipality of Northumberland, where all protection services would be amalgamated. It’s about time we started looking towards the future instead of the past. Local police services are anachronistic and holding on to the way things were are anathema to good governance. Cobourg Police Service budget
take up a huge amount of my tax dollars and any effort to reduce or ameliorate
those costs ought to be welcome by everyone.

Pete M
4 February 2023 11:19 am

Very interesting. What other responsibilities should the County be taking on?
Starting to look like we are moving more towards a one tier Municipal governance model. Think of Prince Edward County and Quinte West.

Reply to  Pete M
4 February 2023 12:53 pm

You could add in Kawartha Lakes the mix
I was surprised that Harris didn’t amalgamate this area in the 1990’s , and have a single school board

Reply to  Mark
4 February 2023 1:12 pm

Mark – Toronto was supposed to be amalgamated but wasn’t. Instead people of the union and management fearful of their jobs futher split its administration dissolving the amalgamating body which was Metro and developing governance to the various boroughs which made up the City. Metro is no more but Toronto, East York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, York hold the offices. Instead of having all the adminstration under Metro they split it and hired and hired and hired. Be careful what you wish for. I was selected to represent the workers in my division and what I saw was a power struggle completely obliterating the concept of amalgation.

Reply to  Dave
4 February 2023 1:49 pm

Further – The Metro Division union workers did not lose their jobs the seasonal among them were advised you won’t be considered for a full time position – Metro is no more. So the hiring wasn’t due to workers being laid off but in fact was greatly adding to in new hires for full time in the now divided City. In the next year the overall employment numbers reflected a very great increase and expense.
To add a personal note – myself I returned to the Trucking Industry – “pour me another cup of coffee ,,.” Life is not always as it should be!

Last edited 3 months ago by Dave
Reply to  Pete M
4 February 2023 12:53 pm

Pete M,

A tier one municipality like PEC or QW is certainly one model to consider. A regional model rather than a County should also be considered. This would include a regional police force and ELECTED council members, similar to Durham or York region. The tier two municipalities would remain as is except for the police and a Council of appointed members.

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
4 February 2023 6:46 pm

Durham and York Regions maintain water and sewage and have combined in water and sewage projects…think Duffins Creek Waste Water Plant in Ajax.
Would the County want to take over water treatment plants and sewage plants in Port Hope, Cobourg, Brighton, Colborne, Campbellford and various smaller rural systems.
Could this mean cheaper water and sewage rates in Cobourg???
My assessment is that there are 5 lower tiers that would be in favour of a single tier-County take all; opposing would be Port Hope and Cobourg.

It is important that these conversations are being had. I don’t believe the current model can be supported as it is, with the tax and spend that is being done at both levels. Our current tax base being weighted heavily to residential vs commercial/industrial will not support the various infrastructure in need of repair or replacement.

Hoping a lone County Economic Dept would do better at attracting industry to County than current municipal depts. This could help take pressure off residential tax base??

4 February 2023 9:30 am

It will cost an extra $30 million for a new building. We can’t afford it. Go the OPP route…they have buildings already.

Reply to  cornbread
4 February 2023 10:06 am

Port Hope has a New Building , Cobourg has plenty of Empty Buildings
How about save the Golden Plough Perfect location or the East end we own the land on Willmott st
Our present Police station is half empty and 3 floors , plus there used to be a Gun range in the basement used for many things to make it look busy , I think a walk through by the Mayors office would be in order.
Heck they would probably ask for a search warrant.

Reply to  cornbread
4 February 2023 1:02 pm

Would that building at 401 and Division be big enough for the amount of offices they need?

Reply to  Mark
4 February 2023 1:20 pm

Considering how many are off claiming PTSD they could probably fit in a building half that size.

4 February 2023 9:07 am

I am happy to see the New Mayor & Mayors recognizing some of the real issues and Costs
and finally speaking out about it , Better yet Acting on it . This could happen more quickly
if some Help / Advice from Durham Region was available They went through the Transition many years ago and know where the Pitfalls and Objectors are hidden
Save On !

Reply to  Sandpiper
4 February 2023 11:38 am

Whose paying for yet another “study” are they splitting it 4 ways?

4 February 2023 8:33 am

The problem is not the size of the police force
The problem is prosecutors and judges and the liberal catch and release program,
How would you feel as a police officer arresting the same people over and over and over and over

Reply to  Jones
4 February 2023 8:57 am

Just saved the Cobourg taxpayers 75000$

Reply to  Jones
4 February 2023 9:01 am

If thats your job to do then you keep on doing it and improving
like making or assembling of cars in GM or Farming day after day
but they are paid well for it with Benefits and a pension

Reply to  Jones
4 February 2023 8:24 pm


The problem rests with the provincial government. It is responsible for the catch and release. The cops, prosecutors and judges follow the directions set out by the province

Lemon Cake
4 February 2023 8:12 am

$75,000 for a consultant 🙄

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Lemon Cake
4 February 2023 8:37 am

If it were the Liberals it would be $175,000.00

Constance Mealing
Reply to  Lemon Cake
4 February 2023 8:50 am

Was there not a study done years ago concerning amalgamating Cobourg and Port Hope police forces or was it just talk.

Reply to  Constance Mealing
4 February 2023 10:06 am

Yep probably every ten years for the past forty!

Just my two cents worth:

Last edited 3 months ago by ben
3 February 2023 8:07 pm

“This would not happen overnight and Lucas suggests that one possible transition would be to start with merging the Port Hope and Cobourg Police forces – this could also happen in a shorter time-frame.”

This quote comes to mind:
“Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana and it can be accurately quoted as “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” as stated in his work, The Life of Reason

The best of luck on this one!

Last edited 3 months ago by ben
Jean Crowley
Reply to  ben
4 February 2023 8:17 am

Both Port Hope and Cobourg police force SHOULD merge together. It doesn’t make any sense having two separate police forces for two small communities .

Reply to  Jean Crowley
4 February 2023 11:05 am

Yep , that will need a new building of course,
Centralization always reduces quality of service

Reply to  Jones
4 February 2023 1:34 pm

New building? 107 King has been extensively renovated and updated. The PTSD situation will not be fixed by any amalgamation, it will just get bigger.
you are paying a huge cost per person to have a pretend Police Force. When something serious happens they have to call in the OPP anyway. Why not just go OPP? Unless to prefer to waste tax money buying electric Mustangs, subsidizing Venture 13, buying senior staff kilts, paying a media person to report nothing, etc etc

Reply to  Kyle
4 February 2023 3:19 pm

Do you have the number from the Cobourg Police Force that are off due to PTSD Kyle? I know it was tossed out in the Council discussion pertaining to police officers but not stated the number here. Having watched on the Fifth Estate. It covered the OPP. The officer was on PTSD which I could anyone could see was a justified condition for him to have considering the calls he took and situations he faced. However I did not recall any statistics on the number in Cobourg – only the comment. So is it really a consideration at all – relevance – should be backed up by number and if that is the consideration perhaps the mayor should be examining numbers from larger police services.

Last edited 3 months ago by Dave