The Hawkesbury Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment is officially open for business at its new location.
The move was made from the former building on Cartier Boulevard to the new location at 1425 Cameron Street in mid-September, but a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Friday, October 9.
The $20-million facility was opened by OPP East Region Chief Superintendent Karl Thomas, MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Solicitor General, Christine Hogarth, Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari, and Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell.
“This is an amazing detachment,” said Acting Inspector Marc Hemmerick, Interim Detachment Commander. He said that the new facility in Hawkesbury is currently the second largest OPP detachment building in the province. At more than 20,000 square feet, it is approximately double the size of the former facility on Cartier Boulevard.
Ghamari said that the new facility is an example of providing police officers with the tools they need to do their work.
According to Hogarth, the new Hawkesbury building is part of a $182-million project to replace nine detachment facilities across Ontario. She also highlighted the provincial government’s recent announcement to hire 200 more front-line police officers.
Thompson explained how the Hawkesbury detachment serves a population of approximately 34,000 people in five municipalities (Hawkesbury, Champlain, East Hawkesbury, Alfred and Plantagenet, and La Nation) and has a unique role because of interprovincial traffic in the region.
There are 66 police and civilian personnel working at the Hawkesbury detachment, including an eight- member detective squad.
The building is designed with a community approach, according to Hemmerick. There is a large meeting room that is available for community organization use. As an example, he said that planning community safety and well-being is one activity that could take place there. Victim Services Prescott-Russell has an office in the building so that victims of crime can be assisted more quickly.
The new facility has room for additional staff if they are added. The administrative and operational areas of the building are separated but connected by a corridor that forms a rectangle around the building. There is a highly secure area for evidence storage and a room where objects taken from crime scenes can be analyzed. The building also includes spacious, ergonomic workplaces, a fitness room and outdoor patio with a barbecue grill for the staff.
“It has been a huge morale booster,” said Hemmerick.