The North Grenville Police Services Board (NGPSB) held their monthly meeting last Wednesday, focusing on addressing speeding in the municipality.
At the beginning of the meeting, Acting Inspector (AI) Joshua Kingsley of the Grenville County detachment gave the NGPSB a brief overview of the OPP’s work in the municipality over the past month. Although instances of certain crimes (uttering threats, theft over $5000, fraud) have increased as compared to the same period last year, numbers are still low. “We’re pretty much in line with what we saw last year,” he said at the meeting. “The categories might change – a little bit more assault, a little bit less property crimes and vice versa – but there’s nothing that jumps out to say we’ve seen any significant trends in any policing that draws any great concern for me at this point.”
AI Kingsley also highlighted the implementation of their mobile crisis response team which includes a mental health nurse. He says this team responded to four calls for service in North Grenville in the month of April and was able to successfully divert people in crisis from the criminal stream to the mental health stream. This program has been in place for about a year, and AI Kingsley says they are hoping to increase the availability of their mental health nurse who is able to streamline service and get people in need connected to social services, whether that be mental health services, counselling services, drug addiction services or housing. “What we tend to see is a significant decrease in the repetitive calls for service after we have engaged with our mobile crisis response team,” he said.
Mayor Nancy Peckford was the first to highlight the issue of speeding in the municipality, especially on residential roads within Kemptville’s downtown core. AI Kingsley noted that the OPP usually waits for a speeding hot spot to be identified before they assign officers to enforce speed limits in a particular area. This happened on Wellington Road earlier this year when the OPP did a blitz in the hope of curtailing speeding along the thoroughfare that connects downtown to Colonnade. Mayor Peckford noted that the municipality has also been fielding a lot of requests for stop signs to reduce speeding along Maley Street and Clothier Street, which both run parallel to County Road 43. “I know there are some other rural and urban roads that I think would benefit from a little TLC, if you will, if you guys are able to get there,” Mayor Peckford said.
AI Kingsley said that if the OPP do get a lot of complaints through the NGPSB or council, they will look into conducting a traffic assessment of the area to see where the issues are. If the OPP feel it is an enforcement issue, they will do a high-level blitz to hopefully change driver behaviour. If traffic calming measures are needed, the OPP will work with the municipality to provide advice for curtailing speeding in the area. AI Kingsley also noted that digital speed signs are a very strong traffic calming resource. Installing these signs is also something that the municipality can implement without OPP involvement. “What I find the most effective is short durations, and move them around because we don’t want people to get stagnant and just say that’s a fixture I’m use to seeing,” he said.
Councillor John Barclay believes the municipality currently has three digital speed signs in their possession, but he would be in favour of acquiring more. “We definitely need a lot more,” he said. “I think two or three more would be great.” Member of the NGPSB, Debbie Wilson, agreed. “They’re expensive, but I think it’s a necessity.”
The NGPSB also has a new protocol for handling resident complaints relating to traffic in the municipality. All complaints must be captured by a Traffic Concern Form, which can be found on the municipal website. Once completed, the form will go to Public Works staff and they will contact the resident to tell them what actions will be taken to address the complaint. If the complaint is validated, a request for enforcement will be forwarded to the OPP detachment commander and copied to the Chair of the NGPSB. The validation of a complaint is completely based on enforcement warrants agreed upon by the NGPSB, OPP and the Municipality. The OPP detachment commander will report back to Public Works staff on any actions taken, and a report will be presented to the NGPSB the next meeting. “It’s very different from the last protocol that we had and it’s much simpler, but I think that’s part of the benefit,” Councillor Barclay said.
Mayor Nancy Peckford agreed with the new protocol; however, she noted that residents should be given a timeline as to when their complaint might be addressed. Councillor Barclay said that a 30-day turnaround would be the goal, however it is something that needs to be discussed internally with the public works department.