| Nov 29, 2007

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Feature Article - November 29, 2007

OPP Come to Central Frontenac Councilby Jeff Green

Detachment Commander Gerry Salisbury and Administrative Sergeant Jeff McCann of the Sharbot Lake detachment paid a visit to Central Frontenac Council this week, and for once they did not have to answer questions about a lack of police visibility in the territory.

A large number of police cruisers have been in and around the township in response to the long running protest at the Robertsville mine, and on two occasions in July, up to 25 officers were called in to manage protests on Highway 7.

Inspector Salisbury said the local detachment deserves credit for the fact that there have been “no incidents at the Robertsville site.”

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“Everyone has their own theory about what the police should do, but my position is that if we can do something proactively that will protect the citizens of Ontario, we will do that,” he said.

The intensive amount of policing at Robertsville, which “has demanded a tremendous amount of resources, has not affected other police services to Central Frontenac,” Salisbury said.

In presenting some of the incident reports from the latest six-month period (April to November) Inspector Salisbury pointed to certain trends.

The number of criminal charges laid by the local detachment in the past six months is 202, which Salisbury described as “very high for a small detachment,” but he added, “This does not reflect a criminal problem, not at all. It reflects proactive work by the police force.” This is particularly true in the case of drug enforcement, he said.

He also pointed to what in policing circles is called a clearance rate - the percentage of offences that police clear by laying charges.

The clearance rate for break and enters, of which there were 29 in the time period, was 35%, which Salisbury said is twice the provincial average, and for mischief under $5,000, of which there were 40 incidents, 235 were cleared, which he said is also well over the provincial average. Of 47 incidents of theft under $5,000, only 4, or 8%, were cleared. There were no incidents of theft or mischief over $5,000 in the time period.

There were 113 motor vehicle collisions, and the most common type was car/deer collisions. “This is a huge issue we face throughout the Lanark and Sharbot Lake regions, which have the second highest rate of car/deer accidents in the province. We are working with the MNR on things like road signage. In New Jersey, a police force tried reflective signs, but that didn’t seem to work,” Salisbury said.

“I guess the deer don’t read the signs,” said one of the councilors.

“On the positive side, there have been no fatalities from car-deer collisions,” Salisbury said.

Councilor Gary Smith asked Inspector Salisbury if he had “any comments on the legal status of the smoke shop on Highway 7.”

“It’s probably not a good idea to comment in public on that. It is under investigation,” said Salisbury.

In August a cigarette store was opened in Highway 7 near White Lake by members of the Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation.

Last week a representative from the Kingston Frontenac Public Health Unit was contacted by the News about the smoke shop, and said they were involved with the OPP and the RCMP in an investigation.

One final point that Inspector Salisbury made was to mention that Sergeant McCann has received a citation from the OPP for life saving, after coming to the assistance of an individual at the Sharbot Lake Freshmart last year.

Trail committee: Eldon Hamiton wants in – Frontenac County is setting up a committee to oversee trail development, and long-time Frontenac ATV club stalwart Eldon Hamilton wants to be on it. Hamilton wrote a letter to Central Frontenac Council asking to be included. He lists his 16 years on Portland District Council and 14 years on the Napanee Conservation Authority as credentials. It is unclear why Hamilton sent his letter to Central Frontenac Council since he lives in

South Frontenac where the trail initiative is strongest, and the committee is connected to Frontenac County. Steve Knechtel, General Manager of the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, which manages the Cataraqui Trail and is touted as potential managers for the K&P Trail in South Frontenac, responded to Hamilton’s request in an email. He said, “Membership in the trail committee is to include a representative of EOTA (The Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance). EOTA has strong links to ATVing in the area and can probably represent those interests.”

Although the groups who will have representatives on the committee have been determined, the individuals who will serve have not been named.

“The ATV groups will be consulted as part of the process,” said Mayor Gutowski, “but not as part of the committee.”

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