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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

COVID-19 Changing Things For Police

Owen Sound | by Claire McCormack  

Police Week highlights the importance of community connections especially during the pandemic.

Recent #HereToHelpGB campaign  

COVID-19 has changed the look of Police Week in Owen Sound this year without station tours or in-person events.

Chief Craig Ambrose says the pandemic has also changed the way they're working in the community and how residents interact with them.

"We've gotten information about suspicious activity because they would normally not have noticed it, but now that their routine has changed they see what's going on a little bit more because they're looking out the windows and they're home to see that change."

A recent call from a citizen who saw something suspicious led to drug and firearm charges against an Owen Sound man.

Ambrose says Police Week's focus is 'Leading the way to safer communities,' based on the Community Safety and Well-being planning going on. It emphasizes community supports that can stop crime before it begins.

He says right now, that's important because while collision calls have dropped off because fewer people are driving, Ambrose says there are a lot of 'social disorder' calls, "People don't want somebody in the house or there's some type of a report of an incident going on. Those types of things are probably on the increase."

Ambrose recently helped put together the #HereToHelpGB social media campaign with Child & Family Services. It aims to raise awareness about community supports for people who are suffering abuse while confined to their homes during the pandemic.

"Everybody recognized the importance of it given the circumstances right now," says Ambrose.  

Meanwhile, most of the Chief's Citation Awards which recognizes citizens for their acts of heroism or kindness will be put over to next year's awards, "We can't get together to do it in person and we don't want it to lose that meaning." Ambrose does note there will be one special Citation Friday.

For Ambrose, part of the meaning of the week is to highlight some of the work they do as police officers, "Oftentimes, there's a lot more to it than what you see on the street," he adds while officers on the road may be the people you see most, "There's an awful lot that goes into it behind the scenes and it's an opportunity to recognize those people as well."

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