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OPP hold community services conference here

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Fort Frances was full of Ontario Provincial Police officers last week, when the annual community services convention was held for the first time in Fort Frances at the Red Dog last Tuesday through Thursday.

A gathering of forces from all over the Northwest Region, including Armstrong, Dryden, Fort Frances, Geraldton, Kenora, Marathon, Nipigon, Pickle Lake, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and here, many community services officers met to discuss community service efforts.

“The purpose of the conference was for officers to recognize what’s happened in the past year and strategize for the future as well,” said Cst. Cam Howard of the Fort Frances OPP.

Cst. Howard, who attended the conference with fellow community services officer Cst. Mark Boileau, added that one thing he found after talking with other regional officers was how well Fort Frances and the Rainy River District was doing in maintaining a bridge between the public and the police.

“The Fort Frances area is really on the leading edge. Working with SAP (Substance Abuse Prevention), RRVSC (Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition) and other partners, we are leading the Northwestern Ontario with our community programs,” he enthused.

Such district programs include Risk Watch, Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education (DARE), and the Police And Community Together (PACT).

The event was also an occasion to present outstanding civilians who have helped out the OPP in the past year. Locals who received awards included pilot Gord Melville and Jim Gartshore for their assistance in an accident at Stanjikoming First Nations in late July.

The Abitibi-Consolidated airplane, piloted by Melville, was used to evacuate five victims from an auto wreckage.

As well, the Fort Frances Times and CFOB received awards for its assistance with reporting police news.

S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis noted that he understood the conference was well-received and helpful in gauging the local level of community service.

“The feedback from the community officers has been very positive,” he remarked.

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