Police, Pharmacists Team Up To Fight Robberies

Police and pharmacists are working together to make pharmacies safer in light of being a recurring target for robberies.

An information session at The Safety Village in east Windsor was put on by the Essex County Pharmacists Association as well as the Windsor, LaSalle and Amherstburg police services along with OPP.

It aimed to give pharmacists some tips and tools to deal with high risk situations. The session was initiated by the ECPA to explore different approaches and technologies that could prevent these crimes.

Barry Horrobin with the Windsor Police Service spoke at the session. He says pharmacies continue to be targeted for their drugs.

"In a pharmacy — it's drugs. It's drugs like opioids and narcotics and drugs of that nature are on the rise," says Horrobin. "Trending-wise, over the last several years crime in this region is down — that's a good news thing, but crime at pharmacy environments is not. Now, it's now drastically up, but it's just not declining like it is elsewhere in the community."

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Director of Planning and Physical Resources with the Windsor Police Service, Barry Horrobin (left), and President of Essex County Pharmacists Association, Heather Foley (right), attend an information session at The Safety Village in Windsor looking to help deal with pharmacy robberies. Photo taken April 26, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

As well as working as a pharmacist in Chatham-Kent and with the University of Waterloo, Heather Foley is the president of the Essex County Pharmacists Association.

She says there's serious concern among many in her profession they'll be held up with someone demanding drugs.

"I guess the risk is always there because you're the keeper of something that is potentially wanted by somebody. I guess you're always concerned that you could walk into work and be faced with a robbery."

Foley has had her own scares.

"I've had two personal experiences, never robbed, but two experiences where I felt threatened and at risk," says Foley. "Terrifying. It was terrifying."

Horrobin stresses police and pharamcies — big or small — need to keep an open dialogue.

"Your victimization is just as important as anybody else who works in a larger facility. Every perspective matters," says Horrobin. "The more we hear and, collectively, the more information we have the better decisions we make."

The session drew more than 50 people.