by Isabel Mosseler
The West Nipissing Police Services Board is still in the process of restructuring following the transition to OPP services, having experienced an internal collapse with the resignation of former Chair Barry Bertrand, in June, and the resignation of the interim Chair, Céleste Auger-Proulx, at the first meeting following transition in September.
A second meeting was held on November 20th and the process of rebuilding the WNPSB continues. WN council appointees to the board are municipal councillors Chris Fisher and Denis Sénécal, and member at large Roch St-Louis. The provincial appointees were Auger-Proulx and Bertrand, and no replacements have yet been announced, though applications had been received in September according to former ministry representative Graham Wight.
Fisher has been striving to be responsive to public inquiry as to the activities of the board as the current chair; he recently shared that the board now has a secretary to take minutes, and submitted the PSB report to the Tribune on request. That report reveals a list of policing activities since June 2019. The local Detachment Commander, Inspector Michael Maville, responding to questions arising from the report, indicated, “The West Nipissing location has had 3,392 calls for service since the 06 June 2019. (...) We are certainly a busy spot! I did a quick comparison on similar sized locations in the region and Elliot Lake had 2,799 calls for service and Kirkland Lake had 3,355 (same time frame).”
The Tribune had received information that an additional street crime unit had been added to the area to address the situation, but Maville said that this information was inaccurate. “As for street crime members, we did not bring in any additional units per se. …Our crime unit for the entire detachment is seeing some change where members from the West Nipissing / Warren side are now in the role of Detectives, whereas in the past there were more members on the Sudbury side. Regardless of their physical location, these members work closely together and travel to wherever the work is. They are extremely hard working and have done some incredible work in the entire detachment area.”
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