It was a monumental task. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) needed to conduct security assessments of all the courthouses in the province it polices—approximately 100 locations—with only three people to carry out the work.
In an unprecedented move, Security Assessment Unit Sergeant Laura Meyers, PSP, proposed bringing in outside help from the private sector. Senior executives approved of the idea, and Meyers reached out to the ASIS Toronto Chapter to bring on Michael Thompson, CPP, PCI, PSP, and Gregory Taylor, CPP, PSP.
Both had public sector experience—Taylor was former military and Thompson a former Toronto police officer. Meyers thought those qualifications, along with their extensive security backgrounds, would not only help them conduct the assessments OPP needed, but also gain the respect of OPP officers they would be working with in the field.
Her predictions were correct. Taylor and Thompson were well received, and the project was completed on time without exhausting OPP's resources—funding or personnel—to complete. It also marked a new era with OPP in bringing security professionals in-house to assist law enforcement in addressing security threats.
In 2007, the province of Ontario issued the Ontario Public Service Physical Operating Policy, which required all public service facilities within the province to complete a physical security threat risk assessment.
The OPP, which polices more than 1 million square kilometers of land and waterways in Ontario, was subject to this mandate. It's one of North America's largest deployed services with more than 5,800 uniformed officers, 2,400 civilian employees, and 830 auxiliary officers.
To comply with the mandate, the OPP's four-member Security Assessment Unit was assigned to carry out threat assessments of more than 200 facilities across the province. The four members went to each region and trained OPP staff at the facilities on crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) strategy and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) Harmonized Threat Assessment Methodologies.
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