The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is the Provincial Police service for the province of Ontario, Canada. In the late 1940s, policing functions were reorganized in Ontario, with the OPP given responsibility for all law enforcement in the Province outside areas covered by municipal police forces, together with overall authority for law enforcement on the King's Highways, enforcement of the provincial liquor laws, aiding the local police and maintaining a criminal investigation branch.
The OPP is responsible for providing policing services over one million square kilometres of land and 174,000 km2 of water to a population of 2.3 million people (3.6 million in the summer months). As of 2010, the O.P.P. has over 6,200 uniformed, 850 auxiliary and 2,700 civilian personnel. The vehicle fleet consists of 2,290 vehicles, 114 marine vessels, 286 snow and all-terrain vehicles, two helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft. Rank Structure within the OPP is paramilitary or quasi-military in nature, with several "non-commissioned" ranks leading to the "officer" ranks.
The OPP is the largest deployed police force in Ontario, and the second largest in Canada. The service is responsible for providing policing services throughout the province in areas lacking local police forces. It also provides specialized support to smaller municipal police forces, investigates province-wide and cross-jurisdictional crimes, patrols provincial highways, and is responsible for law enforcement on many of the waterways in the province. The OPP also works with other provincial agencies, including the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Natural Resources to enforce highway safety and conservation regulations, respectively. Finally, OPP officers provide security at the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto.
At the First Parliament of Upper Canada on September 17, 1792, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, provision was made for the formation of a 'police system'. Initially, policing jurisdictions were limited to districts, townships, and parishes. In 1845, a Mounted Police Force was created, in order to keep the peace in areas surrounding the construction of public works. It became the Ontario Mounted Police Force after Confederation.
In 1877, the Constables Act extended jurisdiction and gave designated police members authorization to act throughout the province. The first salaried Provincial Constable appointed to act as Detective for the Government of Ontario was John Wilson Murray (1840–1906), hired on a temporary appointment in 1875 which was made permanent upon passage of the 1877 Act. Murray was joined by two additional detectives in 1897, marking the beginnings of the Criminal Investigation Branch. However, for the most part, policing outside of Ontario's cities was non-existent.
With the discovery of silver in Cobalt and gold in Timmins, lawlessness was increasingly becoming a problem in northern Ontario. Police constables were gradually introduced in various areas, until an Order in Council decreed the establishment of a permanent organization of salaried constables designated as The Ontario Provincial Police Force on October 13, 1909. It consisted of 45 men under the direction of Superintendent Joseph E. Rogers. The starting salary for constables was $400 per annum, increased to $900 in 1912. The first OPP detachment was located in Bala, Ontario.
In the 1920s, restructuring was undertaken with the passing of The Provincial Police Force Act, 1921. The title of the commanding officer was changed to Commissioner and given responsibility for enforcing the provisions of The Ontario Temperance Act and other liquor regulations. Major-General Harry Macintyre Cawthra-Elliot was appointed as the first Commissioner.
The OPP's first line of duty death occurred in 1923 when escaped convict Leo Rogers shot and killed Sergeant John Urquhart near North Bay. Rogers, who was later killed in a shootout with O.P.P. officers, had already mortally wounded North Bay City Constable Fred Lefebvre.
The first OPP motorcycle patrol was introduced in 1928, phased out in 1942 and then reintroduced in 1949. The first marked OPP patrol car was introduced in 1941.
During World War II, the Veterans Guard was formed. This was a body of volunteers (primarily World War I veterans), whose duty was to protect vulnerable hydroelectric plants, and the Welland Ship Canal under the supervision of regular police members.
In the late 1940s, policing functions were reorganized in Ontario, with the OPP given responsibility for all law enforcement in the Province outside areas covered by municipal police forces, together with overall authority for law enforcement on the King's Highways, enforcement of the provincial liquor laws, aiding the local police and maintaining a criminal investigation branch.
Volunteers continue to serve with the OPP Auxiliary, which was originally formed in 1960 by an Order in Council when the program absorbed the Emergency Measures Organization who were trained in crowd control and first aid. It is recognized that OPP auxiliary constables shall not be utilized to replace regular members in any duties, but the Police Services Act does provide for instances when the Auxiliary Member may have the authority of a Police Officer. This can occur in an emergency situation where the O.P.P. requires additional strength to cope with a special occasion or event.
Women joined the uniform ranks in 1974.
In 1985, the OPP uniform was made more distinctive with the introduction of a blue trouser stripe to match a blue peak cap band.
In 1995, General Headquarters moved into its new facility in Orillia and for the first time in the history of the organization, all Bureaus were in one building.
During the 1990s, officer uniforms changed with darker shirts and matching body armour vests were introduced. In the early years the OPP wore olive green coloured uniforms.
From 1909 to 1930s, the OPP used stetsons as the official headgear and from 1997 to 2008. From 1930s to 1997 the peaked cap was worn and has been returned to service after 2008. During 1997 to 2008, the peaked cap was still worn by commanding officers of the force.
Until the late 1990s, OPP jurisdiction was divided into 17 districts.
|1||Pelee Island, Malden Township, Tecumseh, Windsor, Essex, Belle River, Gosfield South Township, Wheatley, Merlin, Chatham, Blenheim, Rondeau Park, Ridgetown, Moravian, Wallaceburg, Sombra, Petrolia, Forest, Pinery Provincial Park, Grand Bend. Now part of region 6.|
|2||Glencoe, Dutton, St. Thomas, Strathroy, Parkhill, Lucan, Port Burwell, Tillsonburg, Woodstock. Now part of region 6.|
|3||Norfolk, Simcoe, Cayuga, Brantford, Burlington, Milton. Now part of region 6.|
|4||Welland, Niagara Falls. Now part of region 6.|
|5||Toronto||Port Credit, Caledon, Downsview, Toronto, Oak Ridge, Beaverton, Whitby. Now part of region 5.|
|6||Tobermory, Lion's Head, Wiarton, Sauble Beach, Owen Sound, Meaford, Markdale, Kincardine, Walkerton, Mount Forest, Wingham, Goderich, Exeter, Sebringville, Listowel, Kitchener, Guelph. Now part of region 6.|
|7||Barrie||Shelburne, Alliston, Stayner, Wasaga Beach, Midland, Elmvale, Barrie, Orillia, Rama, Bala, Bracebridge, Huntsville. Now part of region 1.|
|8||Newcastle, Cobourg, Brighton, Camborne, Peterborough, Millbrook, Lindsay, Apsley, Coboconk, Minden. Now part of region 1.|
|9||Bancroft, Kingston. Now part of region 3.|
|10||Westport. Now part of region 3.|
|11||Kemptville, Morrisburg, Ottawa, Hawkesbury. Now part of region 3.|
|12||Burk's Falls, Parry Sound, Powassan, Mattawa, North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Temagami, Haileybury, Elk Lake, Englehart, Virginiatown, Kirkland Lake. Now part of region 4.|
|13||Still River, Noelville, Warren, Sudbury, Dowling, Killarney, Manitowaning, Mindemoy, Gore Bay, Little Current, Espanola, Spanish. Now part of region 4.|
|14||Elliot Lake, Blind River, Thessalon, Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, White River, Hornepayne. Now part of region 4.|
|15||Gogama, Chapleau, Foleyet, South Porcupine, Matheson, Iroquois Falls, Cochrane, Smooth Rock Falls, Kapuskasing, Hearst, Moosonee, Marten River, Fort Albany, Kashechewan, Attawapiskat, Winisk, Fort Severn. Now part of region 4.|
|16||Thunder Bay||Manitouwadge, Marathon, Schreiber, Nipigon, Thunder Bay, Kakabeka Falls, Shabaqua, Upsala, Armstrong, Beardmore, Geraldton, Long Lake, Nakina. Now part of region 2.|
|17||Atikokan, Emo, Rainy River, Sioux Narrows, Minang, Kenora, Vermud, Dryden, Ignace, Sioux Lookout, Lac Seul, Earfalls, Red Lake, Slate Falls, Fort Hope, Central Patricia, Cat Lake, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Deer Lake, Sandy Lake, Muskrat Dam, North Spirit Lake, MacDowell, Weagamow, Kingfisher, Wunnumin, Summer Beaver, Lansdowne House, Webequie, Kasabonica, Angling Lake, Sachigo Lake. Now part of region 2.|
The Ontario Provincial Police is responsible for providing policing services over one million square kilometres of land and 174,000 km2 of water to a population of 2.3 million people (3.6 million in the summer months). The OPP has over 6,100 uniformed, 850 auxiliary and 2,700 civilian personnel(2010). The vehicle fleet consists of 2,290 vehicles, 114 marine vessels, 286 snow and all-terrain vehicles, two helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft.
The province is divided into six operational regions:
Field and operational services are provided from 163 police stations and satellite locations throughout Ontario. OPP stations are called "detachments".
The OPP General Headquarters are located in Orillia. Until 1995, the administration and headquarters divisions operated out of a number of buildings in Toronto. From 1973 to 1995 the headquarters were in the old Workmen's Compensation Board Building at 90 Harbour Street (now demolished). Operations were moved to Orillia as part of a government move to decentralize ministries and operations to other parts of Ontario. The first home in Orillia was Tudhope Building, formerly home to Tudhope Carriage and Motor Company (and part of the building housing Orillia City Hall).
In 1922, the OPP headquarters was on the second floor of the Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto.
Current police stations ("Detachments") of the Ontario Provincial Police
The Legislative Security Service consists of Special Constables who provide security services to the Legislative Precinct (Legislature Building and Whitney Block) and report to the Sergeant-at-Arms. Officer uniforms consist of white shirt, black tactical vest, radio, black pants with yellow stripe and peaked cap.
All recruits attend a one-week orientation at the Provincial Police Academy in Orillia, Ontario. Following this, they attend the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario for twelve weeks to obtain their Basic Constable Training Diploma, before returning to the Provincial Police Academy for an additional eight weeks of training, for a total of twenty-one weeks of training. Historically, new recruits were trained in a variety of facilities in and around Toronto until the OPP Training and Development Centre was opened in Brampton in 1981. It remained in operation until 1998, when training moved to the Orillia headquarters.
Rank Structure within the OPP is paramilitary or quasi-military in nature, with several "non-commissioned" ranks leading to the "officer" ranks. Contrary to popular belief,[by whom?] the Detective ranks fall laterally with the uniform ranks and is not a promotion above.
|RANK||Commissioner||Deputy Commissioner (Provincial Commander)||Chief Superintendent||Superintendent||Inspector||Sergeant Major||Staff Sergeant / Detective Staff Sergeant / Traffic Staff Sergeant||Sergeant / Detective Sergeant / Traffic Sergeant||Constable / Detective Constable|
|Shoulder Boards not used for these ranks|
|TITLE||Senior Security Officer||Security Officer||Special Constable||Auxiliary|
|NOTES||General Headquarters Security and Queens Park Security||Electronic Crime Section, Forensic Investigators, Court Security, and Offender Transport Officers||See "Auxiliary Policing Program" section|
Auxiliary members have no police authority. They must rely on the same arrest provisions as regular citizens. There are some instances when an Auxiliary member may have the authority of a police officer. This can occur in an emergency situation, or where the OPP requires additional strength to assist with a special event.
The Auxiliary uniform is distinct from the uniform of a regular OPP officer, as Auxiliary members wear light blue shirts instead of dark blue, have their own Auxiliary cap badges and checkered hat bands and the word Auxiliary is embroidered on their shoulder epaulets and displayed on their jackets clearly identifying them as Auxiliary members.
Members of the Auxiliary are unpaid but they do receive some compensation for travel and meals. The Auxiliary is made up of people from diverse backgrounds and civilian or military occupations.
Following the disbanding of World War II Auxiliary forces, growing Cold War tension and fear of a nuclear attack led to the belief that police services should “recruit and train volunteers to augment their strength in times of emergency.” As a result, in 1954, the Provincial Civil Defence Auxiliary was created, but the need to more closely associate the Auxiliary with the OPP soon became apparent.
On January 14, 1960, the Provincial Civil Defence Organization was dissolved. A new oversight body known as the Emergency Measures Organization—Ontario (EMO) came into being. Each department of the government became responsible for its own operational planning. The organization of auxiliary police forces became the responsibility of all interested municipal police forces, as well as the OPP.
In April 1960, a new organization more closely affiliated with the OPP came into being. The Ontario Auxiliary Police were organized in 12 of the 17 OPP Districts and by the end of the year, 376 volunteers had signed up to be equipped and trained by experienced OPP personnel. Two OPP inspectors were assigned to work with Emergency Measures Ontario as liaison officers for the volunteers. This close connection continues today with the OPP Auxiliary playing a critical role in emergency and disaster planning and occurrences. By 1961 there were 466 Auxiliary volunteers who accompanied regular provincials on traffic and law enforcement patrols and during the year logged more than twenty-six thousand hours of volunteer duty.
In March 1969, a meeting took place at the Ontario Securities Commission in Toronto, Ontario to incorporate a separate but included group of the Ontario Provincial Police Association. Membership is open to retired and currently serving members but also to civilian and Auxiliary members. The OPPVA is a non-profit organization that meets quarterly in various parts of the province to enhance comradery of the members and also involved in charity work. https://oppva.ca/
In 2007, the OPP announced that it would return to a black-and-white colour scheme for its police cruisers. Historically, the force had used black-and-white vehicles from the introduction of the first marked police cars in 1941 to 1989 when all-white cars with blue and gold striping were introduced. The change was implemented starting in March 2007 and was completed in 2009.
The OPP has approximately 1,200 patrol cars in service throughout the province. Common models include the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer and Dodge Charger. Various vans and SUVs are used as support vehicles including 52 prisoner transport vehicles that are specially designed to transport up to 24 prisoners at a time. Harley Davidson FL motorcycles are used for traffic patrol in the summer months. The implementation of the Snowmobile ATV and Vessel Enforcement (SAVE) units has brought ATVs into the forefront of proactive policing of recreational activities.
The Beatles's 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band contains cover art with Paul McCartney wearing an OPP patch on his fictional uniform (more easily seen in the gatefold picture). The patch was given to John Lennon the day after their 1966 concert in Toronto by a summer student working in the garage of the OPP Headquarters (The group was being transferred to a police van for the trip to the airport).
On the online social networking website Habbo Hotel Canada, OPP officers and spokespersons visit the online application to talk to teens on board the web site's "Infobus". During the weekly sessions, users of the Habbo service are able to ask the officers and spokespersons questions, primarily regarding online safety. During the Infobus sessions, the OPP officer talks to the users within the bus about cyberbullying and online safety. The OPP officer holding the session users staff specific tools to ask questions to the whole bus so a more direct answer can be given. This is by using the quiz tool in which users must vote on a multiple choice question which appears in an in-game pop-up. The OPP officers' Habbo account is also given moderation powers to control the bus behavior. The OPP officer ingame account is given the CAA badge. (CAA relates to the badge code used when uploading into the badge directory for the Hotels. The "CA" section of the badge relates to the Hotel and the "A" relates to it being the tenth badge to have been uploaded with the "CA" prefix.) This allows users to recognize them whilst in the game and it is this badge that gives them the housekeeping powers needed to run the Quiz Tool.
In the Canadian horror film Pontypool, the OPP is called into the eponymous town to control a zombie outbreak, ultimately resulting in a massacre. The response of the government to this outbreak draws many parallels to Canadian separatist movements. The film's lead character, Grant Mazzy, vocally denounces the OPP's actions on the radio.
Kim Mitchell regularly wore an OPP hat as part of his visual trademark in the 1980s and early 1990s.
In 1993 an Ontario Divisional Court case, John Doe v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner) Judge Matlow of the Ontario Divisional Court, suspected that four officers of the OPP engaged in a fabrication of evidence and harassment of an accused. Judge Matlow under the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act(FIPPA), sought access to the report of the Ontario Provincial Police exonerating the officers, but was denied access to it by the OPP. Access was later granted by the FIPPA Commissioner, but a judicial review of the FIPPA Commissioner's order to release the report resulted in publication of the OPP report being banned.
The OPPA was established in 1954 to represent sworn and civilian members of the OPP, as well as OPP retirees.
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