Fatal shooting most dramatic policing event of the year: Frechette
In a year of growth and challenges, the most dramatic policing event of 2009 was an altercation on Bayfield Street, north of Cundles Road, that left one man dead and two officers seriously injured, Wayne Frechette, Barrie’s newly-retired chief of police, says in the service’s annual report (item C1 of the circulation list).
On Sunday, July 5, officers David Edgar and Clayton Speers were responding to a man who was demonstrating distraught behaviour. The situation turned violent when the man attacked the officers, and was subsequently shot dead. The officers were transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries, undergoing surgery.
The incident tested the response capabilities of the city’s emergency response teams, including the Barrie Police Service, Frechette says in the report, received for information by council on Monday.
“The immediate response of the men and women of the Barrie Police Service, uniform and civilian alike, as well as that of our emergency services partners and the general public, was absolutely superb.”
The officers returned to full duty in late 2009, and were both presented with an Ontario Medal for Police Bravery, during a ceremony at Queen’s Park.
Other notable events, says Frechette, includes the retirement of former deputy chief Steve Rogers, an officer with 39 years of experience. Inspector Mark Neelin, an officer with 31 years of experience, was promoted to deputy chief, and subsequently became the city’s new chief of police on July 1.
The service also became one of the few in the country with the capacity to create an accurate composite likeness of a suspect, based on witness descriptions, after Constable Duncan Way attended the Forensic Facial Imaging Course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, last September.
Statistics in the report indicate Barrie is one of the safest cities in Canada in which to live, says Rick Jones, former chair of the Barrie Police services Board.
“Barrie’s crime severity index makes us the 3rd safest of the 35 municipalities surveyed across the country. On the basis of these results alone, I can assure the citizens of Barrie that their public safety expectations are being met.”
The report also includes the severity of crime, not just the amount.
“This has been done in recognition of the fact that fluctuations in some categories of crime are of far more significance in terms of public safety than others,” says Jones.
Other notable data included in the report:
• In 2009, the service had a total strength of 312 personnel, up from 293 in 2008, and 280 in 2007. Last year, the service had one chief, one deputy chief. Four inspectors, 10 staff sergeants, 25 sergeants, 175 constables, and 94 full-time civilian employees.
• The service operated 75 cars, 23 trucks and vans, two motorcycles, 10 leased vehicles, two boats, six bicycles, and one command post.
• The service initiative 16 RIDE shifts, involving 103 officers. In all, 5,392 vehicles were stopped, 20 30-day suspensions were handed out, and 23 individuals were charged with impaired-driving offences.
• The e-crimes unit participated in 20 online investigations on child pornography offences, laid 10 charges and launched seven search warrants.
• In 2008, 424 drug charges were laid, with 363 of them cleared, for a clearance rate of 85.6 per cent. In 2009, there were 374 offences, with 374 of them cleared, for a clearance rate of 94.1 per cent.
• There were 5,323 reported property crimes in 2008, and 1,350 of them were cleared, for a clearance rate of 25.4 per cent. In 2009, there were 5,524 property crimes, with 1,377 cleared, for a rate of 24.9 per cent.
• In 2008, police responded to 1,347 violent crimes, and cleared 1,042 of them, for a rate of 77.4 per cent. In 2009, 1,366 crimes were reported, and 1,074 of them cleared, for a rate of 78.6 per cent.