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Northern Ontario police union sounds alarm about staffing crisis

The inability to recruit and retrain police in Timmins is having a big impact on the city, says the union representing police.

In a news release Monday, the Timmins Police Association said there aren’t enough officers available to adequately police the community.

“Seeing less police officers patrolling the streets of Timmins isn’t an illusion,” the association said.

“Given the retention issues plaguing the Timmins Police Service there simply aren’t enough officers to effectively police the City of Timmins.”

The association said it plans to ask for help from the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, which can determine whether prescribed standards of police services are being met.

The police union said it decided to ask for help after the idea was approved by 91.5 per cent of its members at a vote Nov. 14.

“The issue is that there simply aren’t enough officers to do the job,” the association said.

“Over the past two years, the police service has been unable to retain staff and as a result has had to deplete several important units.”

A Timmins police cruiser is seen in this file photo. (File)

Special drug, traffic and other units have been used to maintain minimum policing standards, the union said, prompting the call for help.

The news comes after Chief Dan Foy suddenly retired after less than two years on the job. The move was announced Saturday by the police services board.

“The reasons that have fueled the retention crisis arose far before newly retired Chief Daniel Foy took office and it is not believed that his departure alone will mitigate further officers from leaving,” the association said.

OT shifts, special units depleted

“For the past couple of years the police service has relied on our members working unsustainable hours of overtime and depleting other key specialized units in order to maintain effective policing levels,” association president Luc Lamarche is quoted as saying in the release.

“With retention still being a huge issue and our members being exhausted and overworked for far too long, there simply aren’t enough resources to effectively police this community any longer.”

Lamarche said he has raised the issue with the police board and administration for the last two years, but is frustrated by the “lack of urgency this personnel crisis has been given.”

Making matters worse, some constables are already planning to leave for jobs elsewhere while others have long-planned retirements coming in 2024.

“We cannot in good conscience allow ourselves to get to the point where someone calls for help and nobody is available to respond,” Lamarche said.

“That is why we are now asking the (police commission) for help. The safety of our community and of our members is paramount and is currently gravely at risk.” Top Stories

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