Sudbury Police say no plan to add more officers in rural areas
Community Policing Forum held in Lively to hear from residents
Some residents of Lively say they're concerned with police service levels in rural areas, but police say not to expect more officers anytime soon.
On Thursday evening, about 70 people attended a Community Policing Forum in Lively. Members of the Greater Sudbury Police Service were on hand to discuss crime prevention strategies, trends and statistics.
While some people expressed concerns about police service levels, Staff Sgt. Terry Rumford stated the force will not be adding any officers and won't be increasing service levels in rural areas.
It's all due to what he called an increased "threshold of accountability" put upon police. Rumford told the crowd it's up to everybody to help out.
"As you notice, we had our Citizens on Patrol here, that's one way of doing it," he said.
"It's a community effort. It's the way policing is moving forward in the future."
Citizens on Patrol is a group of volunteer residents who drive specially marked vehicles and assist police by monitoring and reporting suspicious activity. There are currently 11 Citizens on Patrol volunteers working in the Lively area.
Rumford said there's no budget for more officers and paperwork that used to take hours now takes days.
'Be their eyes and their ears'
Claude Sauvé was in the crowd and welcomed the frank talk.
"I think people will be watching even more now," he said.
"We're supposed to be their eyes and their ears. That's what we do, that's what we're supposed to do."
Another concern raised had to do with the Sudbury Police online reporting system, called Cop Logic.
Some residents, like Ethel Kingston, says she doesn't think the program is user friendly.
"I made a suggestion that they provide support at a library or something like that for people who have a problem," she said.
Others felt the concern was overblown.
"I thought they spent too much time focusing on that," resident Anne Schroeder said, adding she was happy to hear officers had caught the man thought to be responsible for most of the recent car thefts reported in the area.
The forum was part of a pilot project initiated by the police and city councillor Michael Vagnini to hear about policing in rural areas. Vagnini is also chair of the Greater Sudbury Police Services board.
There will be two more meetings in Lively in early February.
With files from Benjamin Aubé