Dufferin News Municipal Orangeville

See Crime in Orangeville? Call the Police, Not Town Hall!

DUFFERIN OPP COMMANDER:
"Why would someone call town hall for a traffic complaint?"

When one has suspicions of crime in Orangeville, the OPP Commander of the Dufferin County detachment wants the public to know that they should report it to the police first. 

“I don’t know why or how it got to a position in Orangeville, where, for police issues, people are constantly reaching out to those that aren’t the police,” expounded OPP Inspector Terry Ward. “People need to call the police if they see a crime.”

At the Orangeville Police Services Board meeting held on May 18, Board Chair, Councillor Todd Taylor, said that he received commentary about drugs in the town and that there may be a ‘drug house’ in a particular neighbourhood. He asked the Commander of the Dufferin detachment what people should do if they have these suspicions.

“My advice would be not to call the chair of the Police Services Board. Not the councillors,” remarked Commander Ward. “I mean, reaching out to a town official, I don’t understand the logic in that.”

Ward explained the importance of getting information on criminal activity to the police quickly to act upon it as fast as possible. He communicated how time could be of the essence with many investigations. Direct communication with the police also allows for proper explanations and advice to be given to residents and opportunities to listen and gather more detailed and accurate information.

The inspector mentioned how residents are calling town hall for things such as traffic complaints. 

“Why would someone call town hall for a traffic complaint? Why is someone calling a councillor for drugs?” inquired Commander Ward. “I don’t understand how that happened. We have to change that mentality.”

Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh, previously Orangeville’s Fire Chief for almost two decades, empathized with the OPP Commander.

“I had the same problem,” stated Macintosh, who mentioned that it had been this way for years. “People would go to a councillor because the house was unsafe and stuff. It’s very frustrating.”

The Deputy Mayor claimed that, during his time as fire chief, he would receive calls from an official elected to the previous council about backyard burning violations in the middle of the night.

“Things like that can be very frustrating when they don’t go through proper channels,” declared Macintosh. 

The Commander said that he agreed with Orangeville’s deputy mayor on the importance of working through the established processes, which allows for better information-gathering and tracking. He also called for politicians to do their part when getting these calls by refusing to take them.

“What needs to be done is when someone gets these calls, they need to be educating the public,” asserted Ward. “But a lot of people are afraid they might lose a vote, so they don’t do it.” 

Ward explained how it is this sort of behaviour that keeps ‘the chain’ going.

Chair Taylor endeavoured to clarify the difference between the public letting council members know of concerns in the community, including criminal acitivity, and reporting an actual crime. He explained how he recently participated in a neighbourhood discussion with topics spanning lawn maintenance to speeding.

“I was in Drew Brown last night, and there was a litany of different things that I was there for,” shared Taylor. “So there isn’t a report, but there’s a general feeling that an area has an issue. I think as a councillor that that’s well within my realm.

Commander Ward didn’t disagree but maintained that when it is something that could potentially be serious, ‘it can’t be put aside for a day.’ It was affirmed that crime needs to be reported to the police.

If one suspects criminal activity, they can contact Dufferin OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

References – See Crime in Orangeville? Call the Police, Not Town Hall!

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