Residents may notice some new boys in blue as the North Perth OPP welcomes two additions to the local detachment. Sgt. Bernie Meidema was announced as the replacement for acting sergeant Bill Dekoning at the May 10 meeting of the North Perth Police Services board. Acting Inspector Brad Fishleigh said that Meidema brings a career of experience from his old position in West Perth. "Bernie's got 29 years of service and comes with a wealth of knowledge and expertise," Fishleigh said. "I'm confident that Bernie will do a good job."Unfortunately, Meidema comes to North Perth with only a year left before retirement. Mayor Ed Hollinger expressed some disappointment in the short-term sergeant hiring, and would have preferred an individual with more longevity. "It's a community concern for the police," he said. "We need the ability to hire someone that will grow on the community."Fishleigh said Meidema will need to drive from Sebringville to Listowel to work each day, and chair Ken Lawrence commented on paying for his travel time. "It seems we're getting a part-time sergeant and we're paying for a full-time salary," he said. Dekoning said he has throughly enjoyed the acting sergeant position for the past year, and may be interested in pursuing the job in the future."If there's a possibility up the road to put in for this position, I'll certainly consider it at that time," Dekoning said. "I'd be interested for sure."In the meantime, Dekoning said he'll be returning to regular patrol duty and his previous position as school resource officer in September. Also joining the Perth OPP is Inspector Steve Porter, who arrives on May 31 to take over for Fishleigh. Porter comes from the St. Thomas area with 24 years of police service experience. "I know Steve personally and have for a number of years," Fishleigh said. "He brings a lot of experience to the table and you'll be very happy with his service here."
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