On the list
Well, what do you know?
OPP detachment staff lists are public information.
As regular readers of this publication will be aware, earlier this year, the local OPP detachment refused to release a current staff list to the newspaper for the purposes of a public salary disclosure story – the annual “sunshine list” story.
The Public Salary Disclosure Act was brought in under the Harris government and mandates the annual listing of publicly paid employees earning $100,000 or more per year.
While most employees are searchable by their direct employer – the Township of Minden Hills, for instance – OPP officers are not listed by detachment, but rather grouped as a whole with the thousands upon thousands of employees of the Ministry of Community Services and Correctional Services.
The newspaper requires the names of the officers reporting to the local detachment in order to complete the search.
While in the past receiving a copy of the detachment staff list has not been a problem, this year, the paper was told that, “due to the operational nature of your request, that is something that cannot be provided by the OPP.”
Hmm . . . OK.
Are requests for information on crimes and collisions, something the paper issues constantly, not also “operational in nature,” then?
It seems the response was not so valid.
It seems like it was a meaningless pile of flaming word garbage designed to sound somehow official.
The paper filed a Freedom of Information request for the staff list, which it received without challenge from the ministry, because the list is public information.
A former Haliburton Highlands OPP detachment commander once asked how the detachment could have a better relationship with the local media.
Giving us blatantly public information when we ask for it would be a great start.
Given the ongoing controversy and conversation over ever-increasing policing costs in Haliburton County and other communities throughout Ontario, the way this situation was handled casts a poor light on the local detachment, making it appear it was trying to hide the figures from the public, the public to which it is accountable and the public which pays its members handsomely.