A new Ontario Provincial Police station will be built in Hawkesbury. The $20-million facility is included in the $182 million announced by the Ontario provincial government to replace nine aging police facilities in Ontario. The new detachment will be built on Cameron Street, behind Canadian Tire, on a property donated by the municipality. The new facility should be completed by 2020.
Other new facilities will be built in Moosonee, Fort Frances, Huron County, West Parry Sound, Manitoulin Island, Mississauga, Marathon and in Orillia.
In a November 2016 interview with The Review, Hawkesbury OPP Detachment Commander Franca (Frankie) Campisi, said that she hoped to be involved in designing some of the layout features of the new building, which she said at that time was badly needed.
During a tour of the Hawkesbury detachment on November 3, the Review reporter noted cramped quarters everywhere, including filing cabinets in the hallways.
When prisoners arrive, patrol cars don’t have adequate parking. Cruisers park by the back entrance and prisoners are escorted into the building within close proximity to the parking lot for the Robert Hartley Sports Complex.
When victims and children are brought into the building, they walk past jail cells and are escorted to rooms where furniture is screwed into the floor. Campisi said at the time that her officers were doing the best they could with the space they had, but she said that the building creates bad working conditions. It’s also not a good environment for dealing with victims.
Campisi’s wish list for the new building included a drive-in garage that will enable officers to offload prisoners in a secure environment, providing more privacy to victims. . It will also provide more privacy to victims.
She wants better jail cells, which are equipped with audio and video surveillance and a safer work environment and more secure entrance that better protects her officers. Also on the wish list are better work stations, with more space to improve conditions for officers, who currently have more space to fill out their reports if they work in their patrol cars.
Having two designated interview rooms, which were designed for two separate purposes, would improve communications, says Campisi. She would like to have one room designed for interrogating suspects and another that was designed to better accommodate victims and children.
A larger conference room would enable police officers to meet with community partners and to host educational seminars for the public.
Campisi would also like a small gym for her officers and a larger storage area for assorted gear, which includes a boat, radios, firearms and equipment belonging to the Emergency Response Team. The changing rooms in the current building are also antiquated and lack space.
The Hawkesbury detachment employs about 65 officers and support staff and Campisi estimates that it was designed to accommodate fewer than 20 people.
“We’re lucky that we have officers who work on rotational shifts and that they aren’t all in the building at the same time, because if they were, we couldn’t function,” said Campisi.
Holding a staff meeting would be a challenge, as it is unlikely that the entire staff could fit in the building at the same time.