By Scott Tod, Chief of Police
During the past two weeks our police service, like other front line responders, has been coming to terms with the fact that we are going to see considerable changes and challenges to our daily lives.
These changes will have a significant impact on your freedoms and rights but are needed to ensure that we don’t enable the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The main essence of taking additional precautions and exercising self-discipline regarding physical distancing, restrictions of gatherings, on non-essential business closures and restricted travel are to diminish the spread of the Covid-19 virus and “flatten” the rising need for medical care for the people who will become critically ill.
For these reasons, our police service has had to make changes to the public access to our building and the police response to non-urgent incidents.
The changes being made are necessary to support the work of medical care workers, help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus and ensure that the police service continues to have a critical number of officers and employees available to be at work and respond to the urgent needs of the communities and the burden of additional responsibilities associated to the recent provincial Declaration of Emergency. The changes we are implementing in the delivery in our Service are unprecedented but necessary and some will seem harsh and contrary to your expectations. Our service’s motto remains “Dedicated to Service, Committed to Community.”
We are learning every day about the unique and unusual demographics behind the Canadian experience with the Covid-19 virus. There are still a lot of unknowns and many questions to be answered. That is why we are working with the Public Health Unit, the Ministry of Health and federal public safety authorities to ensure we have the best information available to share with our communities and make sound decisions that can assist you and your families.
Our officers, like you, understand the sacrifices you are experiencing by not being able to be physically close to a family member who may be distressed by what is happening. not be able to visit loved ones in a hospital or nursing home for fear that you could pass on the virus and be unable to celebrate together in large family gatherings.
I think of our young people who have been asked to leave schools and universities knowing it must be really frustrating not to be sure about your future in education and graduation to other opportunities. For many, it is the economic loss that has occurred and may continue for an uncertain period. Through this time of uncertainty, we need to remind ourselves to care for each other and those who are truly unable to care for themselves and who need our collective support and aid. Showing kindness and compassion, respect and tolerance will help us all.
I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that the North Bay Police Service will endeavour to do everything it can to deliver the best service during these unprecedented times. I know our officers and employees all care about our communities and each other. Every day I see their fortitude, dedication, and desire to help and do everything they can to keep you safe. We work closely with partner organizations in North Bay and Callander including local councils, hospitals, Fire and Emergency Services, Paramedic Services, Correctional Services, the Ontario Provincial Police and many other partners.
The North Bay Police Service is prepared to respond to situations where it is necessary to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. Please do not be alarmed when we are asking questions regarding your travel history and state of health. We ask these questions to allow officers an opportunity to wear protective equipment and take steps to protect you and us.
There will be some things that we may have to do in the weeks going forward which won’t be popular and may prove difficult for us. The longer that the need to change and adapt continues, the greater the challenges will become to meet the daily obligations we have in our communities.
There is a tough road ahead for all of us, and I don’t underestimate the challenges and impact this will have on officers, staff and their families, but I know that their overwhelming desire to make a difference and support our communities will be the driving force when times are hard. I also know that most of the citizens we serve support us and will help us when aid is needed. Our members are always appreciative of your support and assistance in difficult times. To help us keep you safe we all need to work together.
Thank you and stay safe!
Chief Scott Tod