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Friday, April 24, 2020

Saugeen Shores Police Business Plan Emphasizes Drug Enforcement

Saugeen Shores | by Claire McCormack  

The latest three-year plan also looks at using new technology and enhanced traffic enforcement.

Saugeen Shores Police have a new three-year business plan with a few key areas police will focus on.

Police Chief Mike Bellai says based on public input, they'll be focusing on drug investigations, property crime and youth crime and traffic enforcement as key areas. He's also looking to increase some electronic capabilities used by the service.

Bellai says the process of creating the plan involved public consultation including a survey which saw about 600 people take part. 317 people took part online and Bellai says about 300 more people did paper copies.

The reported results are from the online survey.
About 81 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied.
About 70 per cent of people feel safe or reasonably safe walking alone at night.
About 98 per cent said they feel very safe or reasonably safe walking alone
during the day.
Bellai says they've recently changed their deployment strategy to have officers on the road all the time.

People felt the biggest issue they wanted police to tackle was by far, drug and alcohol related crime at about 62 per cent, followed by 33 per cent of people emphasizing  property crime as an issue followed closely by youth crime at 30 per cent. About 20 per cent wanted more focus on traffic control related to speeding, aggressive driving and distracted driving.

Not as important were beach patrol and public perception of police. Curfew ranked as the least important thing.

The new plan includes a violent crime strategy, a property crime strategy, youth crime strategy, road safety and a victim assistance strategy among others. Bellai says the service will continue to partner with community organizations "You name it, we're partners in it in some way," he adds, "We can't work in silos anymore."

Some goals laid out for the next three years for drug and alcohol enforcement include enhancing drug investigation capabilities, training more Drug Recognition Expert Officers further educating the community about drugs and participating in local community task forces. Police also have a KIDS educational program and are part of the Grey Bruce Drug and Alcohol Strategy.

Bellai says traffic enforcement is always a priority and notes through the use of a grant, they've been using a car with an Automated Licence Plate Reader which is camera run by a computer that police can either attach to a cruiser or to an object like a post, and it captures plate and car images, automatically checking for violations from small things like outdated insurance stickers to more serious things like warrants for arrest. Bellai says it can also be used during Amber Alerts.

Bellai is also planning to move into using e-ticketing which puts tickets right into the police database and the Provincial Offence Courts system. The business plan highlights it saves costs and reduces the opportunity for error, "It would be something that I would be looking towards in the next year or two or three."

They're already starting to do electronic Crown briefs (those would include information of charges, criminal record, police notes and various evidence), "That saves a lot of time, our officers aren't photocopying and doing all this stuff. Everything we do now is scanned in."

You see more of the survey results and read the plan HERE

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