Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo by: Wellington County OPP
Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment commander Inspector Paul Richardson, said one of the forces top highlights of this year was their pledge to address traffic issues within the County.
Inspector Richardson said it couldn’t have been done without the County providing them with seven black cat devices.
He said the devices are covert speed measuring devices and they compile data for the OPP.
“They are placed on a post and they measure, not only the speed of a vehicle in both directions, but the size of a vehicle, and the volume of vehicles,’ Richardson said. “So, they count the amount of vehicles on a roadway.”
Richardson said they use this data to determine the level to which there’s a speeding issue on the road, and then the best time to put resources to that issue.
He said they also use the data and combine it with their crash data.
“So, we look at intersection enforcement, and speed enforcement in areas where we have serious or significant crashes, in order to best address public safety,” Richardson said.
Richardson stressed that their overarching goal is public safety.
He said that they are also very proud of the creation of the community safety services unit.
Richardson said the unit was made possible by combining some existing resources under one umbrella, and it’s led by Wellington County OPP Sgt. Corrie Trewartha.
“Within that unit we have our media, who are also our community safety services officers, so, they would do presentations on fraud to seniors, to schools, things of that nature,” Richardson said. “Also, in that unit are our school resource officers.”
Additionally, in the unit, Richardson said they have their mental health coordinator, Wellington County OPP Constable Christina Barraco.
“She liaises with our impact team, who are clinicians that provide service to those who are having mental health issues within the community,’ Richardson said.
He added that Crime Stoppers as well as OPP Auxiliary officers who are trained volunteers also make up the community safety services unit.
“Really, what we’re trying to achieve there is one-stop shopping for community safety,” Richardson said.
He went on and said that another highlight of this year for Wellington County OPP is the formation of their support after suicide team, a Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) led initiative.
Richardson said the team consists of a mental health clinician, an individual who has lived experience with suicide, and Constable Christina Barraco.
“What this team does is provide support after a tragedy of suicide,” Richardson said.
He said there’s no timeline on the support.
“It’s as long as it takes to provide the necessary support to those who have experienced a tragedy of suicide, so, we’re pretty proud of that initiative, it’s one of the first of its kind in the province,” Richardson said.
The support after suicide team is facilitated through a grant by Ontario’s Solicitor General.