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Essex Police Services Board holds final meeting of 2020

by Adam Gault

Members of the Essex Police Services Board met for the final time this year, on Thursday, December 3. As part of the meeting, members received the monthly OPP overview report for October 2020, as well as nominated individuals for their two top positions for 2021.

  Starting off the meeting, Essex County OPP Detachment Commander Glenn Miller thanked Essex residents who have reached out to him and other members of the Essex OPP, offering their sympathies and support for OPP Constable Marc Hovingh, who was killed in the line of duty on November 19 on Manitoulin Island.

  “We’ve had a very difficult and challenging couple of weeks,” Miller said. “I just want to give my full support and credit to the officers that are involved in a myriad of different situations every day, including your community. Our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to the families of those OPP members.”  

With ongoing land border restrictions between Canada and the United States, Essex OPP have taken to doing property checks at cottage centric areas, such as Colchester, as a number of American property owners have been unable to attend to their cottages in person for the majority of the past year.

  “The officers are doing that and they seem to be embracing that idea,” OPP Sergeant Joe Meloche said, noting Essex OPP has increased foot patrols in Essex Centre and Harrow in an effort to improve their visibility. “We’ve been really looking forward to getting out there and being with the public. That’s one thing we’re trying to do a little bit more.”

  As of Monday November 30, Windsor-Essex has been moved back to the “red” control stage of Ontario’s regional COVID-19 response plan, and with that, limits for social gatherings indoors has been capped at five persons, or 25 outdoors. 

With these measures, organizers or hosts of events that exceed the in-person gathering limit can be subjected to fines, which start at a minimum of $10,000.

  Members of the Police Services Board raised concerns over whether Essex OPP would continue to “educate” members of public on the new measures, or if the time for more drastic enforcement was now on the table.

  “The officers, I can assure you, certainly within the Town of Essex, will not hesitate to lay a charge, absolutely not,” Miller explained. “We’ve been fortunate within the town, that officers have not had to lay that charge. For people that think that the OPP in Essex will not lay a charge, I’m going to disappoint them, because they could well find themselves in a situation very quickly that they will get a ticket if they’re not following the rules.”

  Essex Councillor Kim Verbeek, the current Chairperson of the Essex Police Services Board, was nominated and accepted to continue in that role through 2021.

Current board member Katie Blais was nominated and accepted the position of Vice Chairperson.

  The first Essex Police Services Board meeting for 2021 is scheduled for January 7.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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