The Dryden Police Service 2017 Annual Report details community involvement and police initiatives, as well as crime statistics for that year.
According to the report, calls for service increased from 2016 to 2017, in particular with calls for service regarding the liquor license and mental health acts. There was also a rise in parking infractions due to increased enforcement. Within the drug unit, there was an increase in seizures of methamphetamine in 2017, with $4530 of the drug seized that year versus only $600 worth in 2016.
The report also highlights that in 2017, officers were trained to use Naloxone, an opiate antagonist that can counter overdose.
“Throughout the year, our police officers, civilian staff and volunteers have worked hard together to ensure the safety and well being of our community,” wrote Chief of Police Douglas Palson in the report. “And we didn’t do it alone. This was an exciting year as we enhanced our focus on strengthening community partnerships to address the range of challenges we face in Dryden and the surrounding communities in our region.”
Palson said Dryden remains a safe, stable and supportive city with no significant changes to the crime rate over the past several years, despite calls to service continuing to rise. “Approximately twenty percent of police calls for service are directly related to criminal activity,” he wrote.
“The remaining eighty percent involve assisting the public and/or dealing with social dysfunction and related issues.
“To address these issues, we continue to collaborate with community members and local/regional service providers. This year, the service has taken the lead in the Dryden and Area Rapid Response Team (DARRT) establishing the community’s first situation table that is proving to be highly successful in helping individuals or families considered to be at acute and elevated risk.”
Police services have taken the lead in developing the community safety and well-being plan, a work in progress, Palson added. “In addition, we are proud of our involvement with the Project Sunset youth development program, partnering with schools, the Ontario Provincial Police and other service providers.”
In her message, Dryden Police Service Board chair Judi Green highlighted police services members as part of the community. “You see this evidenced by how they give back with events like Stuff the Cruiser, the Christmas parade, winter coat clothing drive, Kids and Cops fishing, senior fishing event, Christmas Cheer and you see them regularly in uniform in our schools. “
Our Dryden Police Service members are also our citizens whose kids attend our schools, buy things locally, whom you might see at hockey or maybe somebody you fish with; oftentimes, becoming long-time residents themselves. Like many of us, they make a conscious decision to contribute to the health and well-being of Dryden.” Green noted the Dryden Police Services is undergoing an OPP costing model process.
“Our men and women, despite this, have continued to serve and protect not knowing what their individual future holds,” she said. “I agree that this current council has a responsibility to look at this. It would have been irresponsible not to. I think we have an equal responsibility and opportunity to ensure that we have a vision of Dryden which is affordable and we still retain our sense of community.”