Norfolk OPP increases foot patrols

More police officers are walking the beat in Norfolk County.

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Insp. Andy Tait, who took on his role as head of the Norfolk OPP detachment in September 2023, said his desire to increase and enhance foot patrols has come to fruition, with 193 hours of foot patrol in February compared to 151.75 in December 2023.

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Through a collaborative partnership with Norfolk County, Tait said the downtown extended service office has moved to the bylaw office at 60 Colborne St. S.

“It’s an incredible location to use as a springboard to do more foot patrols in the area,” he said in a presentation to the police services board on Wednesday, adding the space is better suited for officers to do reports, or to just decompress.

The inspector had high praise for detachment members for their involvement in community engagement efforts that include Coffee with a Cop, the OPP Kids program in area schools, and delivering Meals on Wheels to local seniors when the agency is short-staffed.

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Tait also noted officers’ involvement in a recent sledge hockey game and the polar plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics Ontario.

“I could not be more proud of the detachment. It seems like every day our officers are doing things proactively,” he said. “It’s all these little pieces that keep building toward the success of the detachment as a whole. There are incredibly kind people at this detachment.”

Tait said he is excited to have an investigator from the detachment’s auto theft unit make a presentation at the next board meeting to explain what they are doing, the equipment they have, and talk about support from the community.

Board members also heard that the Community Street Crimes Unit has been busy and successful in its endeavors.

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“The eradication they are doing in the illegal drug market is pretty staggering,” said the inspector. “When you’re seeing one little area generating $56,000 in cash seizures and $13,940 in total drug seizures, it’s very prolific in what they’re doing.”

Huffman said the permanence of an inspector at Norfolk OPP is paramount and lends itself to very cohesive community policing.

“As a board we’re starting to see the advantages of a permanent detachment commander,” said citizen board member Michael Cruse. “When you came here you were able to put your efforts and personality towards officers wanting to come here, work for you in the Norfolk detachment. It speaks to attracting them and retaining them, and that’s good news.”

Board member George Santos said taxpayers in Norfolk County are getting good value for the money.

“When we reference community policing with the model that the OPP have, we are definitely hurt in Norfolk County.”

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