South Simcoe Police Outline Strategy, Invite Public Input At Town Hall meeting

Pot laws, personal responsibility, crisis outreach and more

Legal recreational pot use begins next week, and South Simcoe Police Chief Andrew Fletcher suspects there will be a lot of misinformation in terms of where one can light up.

He told a Town Hall meeting last night at North Division on Innisfil Beach Road his officers and bylaw enforcement officers in Bradford and Innisfil will work together to enforce the new law.

South Simcoe Police Chief Andrew Fletcher speaking at Tuesday night's Town Hall at North Division in Innisfil (Facebook)

South Simcoe Police Chief Andrew Fletcher speaking at Tuesday night’s Town Hall at North Division in Innisfil (Facebook)

The Chief noted that while cannabis smoking will be allowed anywhere cigarette smoking is allowed, it really doesn’t leave a lot of options.

He also hopes people pot smokers will be considerate of others.

“When your neighbour’s having that birthday party with a bunch of five-year-olds but you’re going to sit in your backyard and smoke up. And what happens when they ask you to stop…lawfully you can do that in your backyard, you don’t have to comply. I think people need to be a little more considerate.”

And he wondered if that consideration might also be extended in the case road rage; wondered if all the anger directed at some drivers is really warranted.

Fletcher also outlined the costs associated with policing and how officers are deployed, pointing out they can’t be everywhere all the time; people need to recognize the role they play in their own safety.

“Prevent yourself from being a victim. Don’t walk through a dark area at night if there’s another route to take…if somebody becomes victimized don’t blame the police because we weren’t there. Maybe look at yourself and say maybe I shouldn’t have been walking with my phone out because somebody’s going to come and steal my phone.”

Fletcher said he was shocked after a Lock It Or Lose It initiative to hear of the number of vehicles that were left unlocked with valuables inside. It’s so easy, he said to ‘click-click, beep-beep’ before you go to bed at night to ensure your vehicle is locked. Yet when the news release is put out about the number of vehicles left unlocked the response on social media is ‘isn’t that your responsibility.’

Community Engagement continues to be a strong suit for the service, as does the Crisis Outreach And Support Team (COAST) which was formed to help people in crisis. In partnership with the Canadian Mental health Association and York Support Services Network, mental health workers accompany officers – a plainclothes capacity – providing pre-crisis, in-crisis and post-crisis support. The end result has been a 30-minute decrease in call-time with officers spending less time in the hospital and less time transporting prisoners. In many cases, alternative care has been found, rather than an individual being apprehended.

Chief Fletcher holds another Town Hall meeting tonight, this time at South Division in Bradford. It begins at 7 pm. All are welcome.