Jeff Duggan is the detachment commander for the Kenora OPP, and he says the addition of the Bear Clan Patrol will help.
"This is huge for us. When you work at the work we do day in and day out, so much of our work is tied to calls for service," he said.
The patrol is the only fully-funded in the country, among the 60 chapters. Even the founding chapter in Winnipeg doesn't have stable funding.
"This Indigenous-led organization will allow people boots on the ground to build that relationship with our vulnerable population, and hopefully stem a lot of those calls for service that we get," he added.
Duggan said the patrol was first considered in 2009, and it became a reality with volunteer members in 2016, during the Search for Delaine. The detachment commander said he fully-supported the patrol members. He noted the work of the community council members, who had worked to make it happen.
While there were 797 less calls for service in the first five months of 2020 for a total of 6,744 compared with 7,541 during the same time period last year, there have been other issues keeping officers busy.
During the pandemic, the court system has been essentially closed and the jail has been releasing inmates. At the same time, police have been dealing with a series of overdoses that may be connected to drug trafficking in the city.
The estimated cost of policing for the Kenora OPP is expected to be just over $6 million this year, down from the actual cost of $6.15 million for 2019.
This represents $397 on a residential property tax bill of $2,226.
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