Drug, traffic violations among priorities for OPP

MINTO – Dangerous traffic violations and drug use in the community are among the police focuses highlighted in a recent OPP report to town council. 

Staff Sgt. Ron Smith presented the County of Wellington’s OPP 2023 Year End Report to Minto council on May 7.

He said 2023 “was another busy year for us, we’re one of the largest OPP detachments in the province.”

“Although this is a safe community, we keep our members quite busy protecting the Town of Minto and all the other municipalities around here.”

The OPP welcomed two recruits to the county last year and three experienced police officers, with 2024 already beating those numbers, stated Smith.

The emphasis on proactive traffic enforcement will continue this year, he added, focusing on the OPP’s “big four” traffic offences: speeding, seatbelt violations, distracted driving and impaired driving.

“These are the offences that are causing concerns to our community and unfortunately serious collisions and death,” said Smith.

“Despite our best efforts last year we did have 18 fatal accidents in the County of Wellington.”

The Crime Unit dedicated time to death investigations, including three active homicide investigations, three historical homicides, one discovery of human remains and a suspicious death.

In the fall of last year, three people were arrested and charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder in relation to the death of Jason Brown in 2020, which is an ongoing investigation.

Smith highlighted drug abuse within the community, mentioning methamphetamine trafficking, large cocaine and fentanyl seizures and other investigations the Street Crime Unit (CSCU) has been prioritizing.

In total the OPP recovered $1,130,869 in drugs with the help of tipsters.

“We got a new detective sergeant last year who joined us, and they’ve really hit the ground running and there has been lots of warrants,” stated Smith.

The OPP opened a collision reporting centre and now have three currently running, one at each detachment. The centres help with rapid clearance, reducing the risk of secondary collisions and allow the OPP to maximize resources and uniformed frontline officers.

In 2023 the top violent crime calls were assault with 209 reported calls, threats with 110 and sexual assault with 74.

“Wellington County and Minto do remain some of the safest communities by these stats in all of Ontario and Canada,” said Smith.

He also told council the OPP is installing in-car cameras at all detachments in West Region, including Wellington. All marked OPP cruisers will now have cameras that record events in front of the car and in the backseat. 

The OPP is expecting to get new technology by the end of the summer, including body cameras and cell phones for officers.

The next Minto council meeting is on May 21 at 7pm.