The County has decided on the format of a new police detachment board that will help oversee law-enforcement decisions.

A steering committee for the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan opted for a seven-member board, including up to five elected municipal representatives. The Ontario-mandated board will also feature a provincial appointee and a community representative.

Municipalities must submit detachment board proposals by June 7.

“Seven makes the most sense,” committee chair and Coun. Carol Moffatt said. “It allows the people who pay the bill to have the decision-making authority to keep costs where they need to be. It’s optimal.”

Consulting firm StrategyCorp recommended seven. The board will replace the Community Policing Advisory Committee, which previously connected municipal officials and police.

Moffatt said there is some concern about appointees and the province’s ability to find them.

“We can’t do anything about that,” Moffatt said. “We could probably expect that seat will remain vacant for quite some time.”

Meanwhile, the County is planning to get the public involved for feedback to create the plan. It will involve multiple stakeholder groups helping guide a community approach to safety, including social development, prevention, and risk intervention.

The County will create an advisory committee to help oversee the plan, before working with focus groups, namely the HSPCN (Haliburton County Service Providers Network). There will also be a public consultation, with StrategyCorp interviewing community members through video conferencing.

StrategyCorp manager Lauren Wyman said there will be discussion topics and questions pre-circulated to ensure consultation is on topic.

“If some bring something up and it’s not within the scope,” Wyman said. “Put a pin in it and let them know that’s just not something that’s going to be addressed here.”

The date of the public consultation has yet to be determined.

StrategyCorp principal John Matheson said the plan can do a lot to help improve collaboration between different organizations, but it will take some flexible thinking.

“I look at it as a really positive way to bust up silos that get in the way of serving the public,” Matheson said. “But it’s not going to be an easy task.”

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