Exclusive – Nearly Half Of Road Officers With Cobourg Police On Leave

In Editor Choice, Local

Exclusive – Today’s Northumberland has learned there is nearly 50% of the general patrol officers off on leave for various medical reasons with the Cobourg Police Service.
The service is comprised of:
· one chief
· one deputy chief,
· one acting inspector,
· one staff sergeant
· one acting staff sergeant
· five CERT (Community Engagement Response Team) members (including an acting Sergeant)
· two CIB (Criminal Investigations Branch, detective sergeants and detective constable)
· 12 uniformed officers responding to calls for service on four platoons. Currently two platoons have Acting Sergeants and two platoons have confirmed Sergeants.
· One officers is also on modified duties.
· One officer is seconded to Ontario Police College
But Today’s Northumberland has learned of the 17 officers that could be on patrol, there are a total of eight members are off due to medical leave or other related issues.
It works out that just over 47% of officers who usually patrol the roads of Cobourg responding to calls are on leave.
A Cobourg Police Association member and veteran Cobourg Police officer spoke to Today’s Northumberland said, “it’s incredibly stressful for the people (officers) on the road.”
“Everybody is overwhelmed, overworked, burning out, having to work longer hours. Less time available to take off for family or other appointments.”
At a recent stabbing on Elgin Street East on August 31, only two Cobourg Police officers were working on the overnight shift.
“It never used to be common that there were two officers on, however that seems to be a common theme in Cobourg right now.”
Over the past several months people have contacted Today’s Northumberland about the lack of response by police during some incidents.
There is generally supposed to be four officers on a platoon, but that is down to three most times and because of the shortage, it’s not uncommon for the number to be two officers.
“It’s a huge officer safety issue,” states the officer.
“The majority of calls we get are usually two person calls. So if you have two, two person calls you’re only going to one which leaves both the public at risk and potentially officers.”
With the lack of officers on the road, “the biggest fear is not going home at the end of the shift.”
“The second biggest fear is failing somebody, so they don’t go home at the end of the shift, including the public.”
“Nobody wants to lose somebody because we don’t have enough manpower to help.”
With officers on holidays and courses, “you would just go shorter and shorter and they would be constantly jockey people around to fill the shift to have the minimum people working.”
“The town pays for a minimum of three, however we are constantly running below that minimum,” states the officer.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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