Modern police facilities for Northwestern Ontario
The Thunder Bay Provincial Communications Centre is one of five provincial centres to be opened as part of the Government Mobile Communications Project. This involved the replacement of 11 older communications centres with five new facilities. The Thunder Bay centre consolidates Kenora and Thunder Bay centres. The four other centres are in Orillia, London, Smiths Falls and North Bay.
Provincial Communications Centres use the new Bell Mobility FleetNet, a province-wide very high frequency two-way trunked radio network for voice dispatch of emergency services. Emergency personnel from several services use the network and the provincial communications centres for greater efficiency. This network is a partnership between Bell Mobility and the Ontario government and replaces five other two-way radio networks that were operated by four ministries and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
A new Forensic Identification Unit is also under construction in Thunder Bay. Ontario Provincial Police forensic units are responsible for crime scene management, evidence processing, and for the integrity and continuity of evidence from the time it is collected until it is presented in court.
The new facilities are part of the Ontario government's $50-million investment to replace or upgrade facilities for front-line police officers to reflect new technological requirements, increased standards and keep pace with the demands of the justice sector.
Features of the new Provincial Communications Centre:
- State-of-the-art security and CCTV system for building systems monitoring.
- Specifically designed communications room equipped with specialized materials to eliminate sound that could interfere with the 24/7 operation.
- Modern building infrastructure to meet challenging technology requirements.
- Complete emergency power back-up system that provides 24/7 of uninterrupted power service. The system includes an emergency generator, battery bank and Electrical Storm Identification Device that automatically transfers power to the generator if it senses a weather disturbance in the vicinity.
- Open-concept administration area complete with secure but inviting public reception area.
- Advanced air quality system to alleviate health and safety concerns.
- New ergonomic office furniture and a bright modern colour scheme.
- The entire facility is barrier-free accessible.
- The total project cost is $7.4 million.
As a result of modern technology, legislation and operational changes, some OPP forensic units are reaching the end of their useful lifespan and can no longer fully meet the needs of the OPP.
The new building, consisting of 13,455 square feet of combined office, laboratory and garage space, will house many of the latest technologies now available to apprehend and convict offenders. It is built to Containment Level II building standards with Containment Level III HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and includes three biohazard suites, with one designed to have a biohazard/chemical room and a second containing a room for blood splatter examination. The facility also includes a vehicle examination garage bay complete with hoist and specialized perimeter lighting.
The total project cost is estimated at $5.8 million.