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The future of policing in Meaford will be guided by a consulting company hired by the municipality.

On March 24, council delayed a decision on who will provide policing services to the municipality in the coming years, after voting 4-3 in favour of hiring a consultant to review the Owen Sound Police Service proposal and compare to options available from the OPP.

It had been anticipated that council would vote on the topic of police services at their March 24 meeting, however that vote was set aside after Councillor Deborah Young asked council to consider the hiring of a consultant.

Young found the support of Councillors Lynda Stephens and James McIntosh, along with Mayor Francis Richardson, while the other members of council appeared to be ready to vote on the issue at the time.

This week the municipality announced that the award for The Provision of Study and Analysis for the Delivery of Community Policing Contract services (Request for Proposal FS2014-01) has been awarded to Asymmetric Consulting Inc.

Asymmetric Consulting Inc. will be partnering with Pomax Consulting Inc. To undertake this comprehensive review. Asymmetric Consulting and Pomax bring together an exceptional team with long-term, broad-based public safety service and experience. The team brings together a former police chief and senior police and public servants who understand the intricacies and realities of police and government operations,” said the municipality in a press release.

According to the municipality and the consulting firm's website, Asymmetric brings forward over three decades of experience in policing and law enforcement including 25 years of senior management and executive experience. That experience includes operational experience as a police chief and over a decade sitting as an active member on the Ministry of Community Safety’s Policing Standards Advisory Committee. As well as life time memberships in the Ontario and Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and numerous police and government policing committees, Asymmetric Consulting has experience in provincial, federal and international policing issues.

Pomax has a long history in, and comprehensive knowledge of, emergency services, particularly in Canada but also in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Pomax has been providing professional services continuously since 1996, and have long-term and progressive experience as consultants and senior administrators in the emergency services industry and government agencies. Pomax’s extensive experience has led to practical, cost-effective solutions for emergency and public service clients throughout North America and internationally.

The process will begin immediately, with a report to council expected in early September 2014.

While the municipality did not indicate the cost of the consulting contract, Meaford Treasurer Darcy Chapman told council on March 24 that a consultant will likely cost between $25,000-40,000, and that it could be funded from the police services reserve fund which has a balance of approximately $500,000.