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Police making up for lack of call demand with proactive work

That includes major investigations and road safety campaigns
Waterloo Regional Police crest
Waterloo Regional Police crest. Erin Anderson/KitchenerToday

Call volumes to Regional Police are down by eight per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn't mean the service hasn't been busy.

Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin joined the Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS Tuesday to talk about their role during the pandemic.

He said the lack of calls has just given them a chance to shift priorities.

"Some of the proactive work we've been doing has been leading to some significant arrests, with seizures of handguns, seizures of a lot of illicit drugs," said Larkin.

They've also been focused on traffic enforcement, such as cracking down on stunt drivers during "Operation Overpass."

That campaign resulted in 140 stunt driving charges in just two weeks.

"These drivers existed before the pandemic, I also believe they'll exist after the pandemic," said Larkin, "It's a reminder for us as a community, it's a reminder for us as a police service of the importance of road safety."

"I think, as a community, we need to remind ourselves that driving is a privilege in Ontario, it's not a right.  We also need to keep reminding ourselves that 'it's your community, it's your choice.'"

Police have also been busy attending situations where people aren't following public health guidelines, which can come with a hefty fine.

"The fines are significant, we also recognize that we're living in times with a lot of financial uncertainty," Larkin says, "People are concerned about their financial health, and it's impacting everyday life, so we've been very much focused on compliance."

"Overall, from a policing perspective, we're simply amazed by our local community.  They're doing amazing things.  They're supporting all the different pieces."

"If we do show up, generally speaking, most people are very compliant, extremely apologetic, and we're able to solve the issue."

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