OPP tells council non-emergency responses a concern

A senior OPP official is urging cell phone users to carefully consider the lock feature on their phones after over 2,000 calls turned out to be non emergencies.

Staff Sergeant Susan Gray of the County of Wellington OPP, made the comment after presenting an annual policing report for Wellington North to council on Monday evening.

Gray said about 2,340 emergency calls, many involving cell phones, were received for situations that did not require a police response. She said all such calls required follow up to determine if they are  true emergencies.

“That’s very high,” she said. “If you have a cell phone and you use the lock feature, be very careful. A lot of our time is spent on non-police calls.”

Wellington North had 4,992 occurrences in 2011, the third highest of the seven lower tier municipalities covered by the Wellington OPP. Many of the calls were mischief complaints, Gray said.  

She said the force is focussing on having officers out on the street as much as possible to minimize mischief.

“Foot patrols is a priority,” Mayor Ray Tout said he has noticed a greater police presence on the  streets.

“I have seen more foot patrols in the last couple of weeks and that’s very nice to see,” Tout said of police activity in the community.  

“It’s too bad to see how much of your time is with unneeded calls.”

Gray said the municipality only saw one traffic fatality last  year, but had some 314 traffic related calls.

“We’re seeing a lot of intersection related accidents, people failing to stop for stop signs or running yellow lights,” she said.

The force, said Gray, continues to conduct regular RIDE  (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) programs as part of its drinking and driving campaign. Last year police laid 28 impaired driving charges.  

Other charges registered by the OPP included 339 property crimes, including break and enters, and 85 violent crimes, including two robberies and 56 assaults.