Editorial: Hello, police board?

In 1829 Sir Robert Peel, a British Member of Parliament, established the London Police Service. The citizen police service was guided by a set of “policing principles.” Along with the Police Services Act requirements, those same principles still apply today to the Deep River Police Services (DRPS) and the OPP serving Laurentian Hills.

With the approval and trust of the public, the purpose of the police is to prevent crime and maintain order by achieving compliance with the law in our community. While performing their jobs, police officers must be steadfast in their duties, safeguard our rights and freedoms, maintain impartiality, and respect the victims of crime. The use of force and physical control is to be a last resort.

As a reflection of our community, they are to serve and protect the public. The effective success of our police officers depends not the number of arrests, but the absence of criminal activity. The women and men in uniform are to avoid the temptation to be swayed by public opinion and remember that, like us, they are members of the public.

The intense “review” of the DRPS last year was unbearable at times. Reason prevailed and the DRPS was affirmed as our trusted police service. Our police officers do a pretty darn good job. Indeed, Sir Robert Peel would be proud of them, as I am. They are supportive of our community in and out of uniform and they respect us as they go resolutely about their duties. The tangible and intangible return of investment for our local police, while maintaining order and working hard to keep us safe, is well worth the money spent.

Amid the ongoing see-saw cacophony of rhetoric and gnashing of teeth, regarding the Deep River fire service, hardly a word has been seen or heard about the outlook and future plan from the town’s Police Services Board for the DRPS. The board is the organization that is responsible for overseeing and providing guidance to Chief Swarbrick and his officers.

The deafening silence of the Deep River Police Services Board (DRPSB) during the review last year was interesting to say the least. What would be more interesting now, would be to hear from the DRPSB about how they intend to support and work with Chief Swarbrick to find, what the mayor described as, “efficiencies and savings in policing while maintaining service levels in the municipality.”

Last July, Chief Swarbrick, ever the consummate professional, stated that he believes that “with the input from our community, the (DRPSB) and… council, there is still room for us to improve on our professional community policing delivery.”

Chief Swarbrick and his officers have the support of the community to get the job done. Hopefully, the DRPSB will let us know how they will support the chief to do just that.