Inspector Martin Murray, the recently appointed Detachment Commander of the Grey County OPP, made his first visit to Meaford council on Monday, July 24 to present the quarterly update on policing activity in the municipality.
Inspector Murray assumed command of the detachment on July 10 from retired OPP Inspector Michael Guilfoyle. He began his policing career in 1988 in West Region at the Forest detachment in Lambton County.
During his presentation to council, Inspector Murray was questioned about the reduction seen in foot patrol hours for officers in Meaford.
“If I could ask about the foot patrol hours and the fairly major decrease: not quite half, but getting close to half. Is that because you feel it's not needed as much in Meaford as it was, or is it a staffing issue, or can we expect to see more foot patrol hours in the future? I just think it's a great opportunity for the officers to get to know our youth in particular,” asked Councillor Shirley Keaveney.
Inspector Murray assured council that foot patrol for his officers is a priority, and he explained that the reduction seen in foot patrol hours is part of the ebb and flow of police work.
“Foot patrol gets done when there's an opportunity to do foot patrol,” he explained. “It's the calls for service and the follow up to calls for service (that can result in reduced foot patrol hours). I am also a big fan of foot patrol, and it's still very much a priority.”
Council also asked the new detachment commander if he will continue to support the provision of a school liaison officer in the community, which was a top priority of the previous detachment commander.
“The outgoing Inspector had an agreement that he made with the municipality about the in-school officer,” noted Councillor Tony Bell. “I'd like to hear you reaffirm that that is something that is important to yourself to carry on with that agreement that we have this officer liaison with our youth.”
Inspector Murray told council that he believes that school liaison officers are an important aspect of policing, and he assured council that it would continue.
“I'm a big fan of that program and always have been, so yes, you will have my support for that,” the Inspector replied.
After his presentation to council, Inspector Murray told reporters that he's pleased with his transition into his new position.
“It's good. It's a great community with great people, and engaged officers, and I'm really lucky to be here,” he said.
Inspector Murray most recently served at General Headquarters in Orillia, where he was a Commander of the Provincial Operations Centre, managing assets and deployments across the province. He also has experience working other police disciplines such as intelligence, Professional Standards Branch, and OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.