Huronia West OPP calls for back-up to help deal with spike in crisis calls

Police in Wasaga Beach are familiar with dealing with the crowds during the summer, but this year, the pandemic has changed things significantly.

"We definitely have an increase in domestic violence, daytime impaired driving, as well as mental health calls for service, suicide and suicide attempts," said Inspector Philip Browne, Detachment Commander Huronia West OPP.

The calls are all considered serious in nature and require multiple officers to quite often work in COVID-19-positive environments.

There have also been multiple traffic fatalities, a drowning and an extensive missing person search in the Huronia West area, which covers Wasaga, Clearview and Springwater.

Browne said he's worried about the health of his officers who are working longer shifts than usual, "while still being exposed to this heightened level of concern for their well-being, as well as their family, and the increase in the type of calls for service," he explained.

The commander has called for back-up in the form of seven additional officers from the OPP's Investigation and Enforcement Bureau. They will be integrated throughout the detachment to help provide relief to the regular force at Huronia West.

Community safety is a shared responsibility between police, the public and municipalities, Browne said.

The additional officers will remain in the area until the end of summer.

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