Pubdate: Thu, 15 Feb 2007
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Teviah Moro
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


'We Are Prepared For It,' OPP Brass Tells Budget Committee

Chipping away at a growing crack-cocaine scourge over the past five
years, Orillia OPP is now bracing for crystal methamphetamine to
invade city streets, acting detachment commander Staff. Sgt. Terry
Wright said Wednesday.

"We are prepared for it to come to the city," Wright said of the
highly addictive narcotic that has swept across the country from the
West Coast.

Police will deal with the problem as they have other illegal drugs in
Orillia, Wright said, noting the force has two officers on the Huronia
combined forces drug unit.

OPP statistics show cocaine charges over the past five years have
skyrocketed to 56 in 2006 from just two in 2001.

"This indicates greater presence of cocaine in the city and greater
focus on these violations," stated a police services board report on
its $5.5-million budget proposed for 2007.

While drug charges are up, offences have dropped to 160 from 165 in
the past two years, Wright noted.

"We had some offences that have had multiple people involved," he
said, adding the detachment has been trying to get to the "source of
the problem."

A lengthy operation resulting in multiple charges in November was
followed by another big bust in December.

Asked to explain the surge in drug activity over the past five years,
the same period of time the OPP has policed the city, Wright told a
reporter he'd have to review historical data before responding.

Addressing the budget committee, he said there's a direct relationship
between drugs and break-and-enters.

Since the big drug busts, there have been only two robberies in the
city, Wright said.

Violent crime, however, is still on the rise, with 760 incidents in
2006, compared to 655 the year before.

A study on having the Orillia OPP detachment doors open to the public
24 hours a day, seven days a week, is nearly finished and should come
to council next week.

The report was pushed by Coun. Ralph Cipolla, who has said not having
the detachment open at all times could hamper public safety.

"I have some serious problems with the police building not being
open," Cipolla said Wednesday.
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