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Sault police ramping up downtown patrols

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The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is resuming its dynamic patrol initiative in the downtown core.

The goal of the program is to increase police presence downtown throughout the summer. This comes as city councillors have been fielding complaints from the public about police response times in the area.

"We do know that there is a concern from the downtown area about more visible policing," said deputy chief Robert MacLachlan.

"Our officers are paid overtime to come in on a special duty and they come in and focus on the downtown area. So, they are not involved in responding to calls unless it's an emergency, of course."

From June 16-29, officers responded to 16 incidents, made three arrests and issued about a dozen tickets as part of the downtown dynamic patrol initiative.

Last week, City Coun. Lisa Vezeau-Allen told CTV News about an incident at a downtown business, and that those involved were reluctant to call police on the assumption and officer wouldn't attend.

MacLachlan said the public should never hesitate to call.

"I think in that particular case, they managed to get the gentleman to leave their business and so the threat may have been over," he said.

"We could do an investigation, find out who that person was, and perhaps take follow-up action. So, I think people in a situation where they feel their safety is in jeopardy, they should call the police."

City Coun. Sonny Spina raised the issue of officer response times at the last police services board meeting. He declined comment on the latest dynamic patrol stats, saying he is waiting on the chief of police to issue his report on summer enforcement plans. 

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