ORANGEVILLE, ONT. -- The Town of Orangeville is in the OPP's hands after 156 years of being serviced by its municipal police force.

The takeover officially took place on Thursday afternoon with a news conference where the mayor welcomed the officers.

Const. Bruce Lemcke spent the last few years with the local force and cleaned out his office to head to his new job with the OPP.

"When I first got here, I was doing the downtown beat, and they took a picture of me walking the beat, and they put it in the boardroom," he said as he grabbed that picture to bring with him.

Lemcke is one of 28 Orangeville officers who have been hired by the OPP and will now head for training at headquarters in Orillia.

The town decided to switch to the OPP after finding it would cost about $5.5 million per year to fund versus the $10 million it cost annually with the Orangeville force.

"In Orangeville, a one per cent increase in our tax levy is $350,000. So if you put that into perspective, $4.5 million represents 10 to 12 per cent tax level difference. So it's a huge number for the Town of Orangeville," said Mayor Sandy Brown.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the organization would work with the town "to ensure their strategic priorities align with those of the province."

Dufferin OPP will cover Orangeville during a four-week transition period.

The OPP will move into the former Orangeville police station after several upgrades are completed to make it operational.