New OPP detachment commander speaks to council
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Inspector Stephan Neufeld, commander of the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police, addressed Petawawa town council last Monday. He succeeded Inspector Mark Wolfe in October.
PETAWAWA – The new commander of the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police isn't wasting any time reaching out to community and municipal leaders.
Barely in the job a week, Inspector Stephan Neufeld visited town council on Monday to introduce himself and discuss some of the priorities that he has for the detachment which is currently based in Petawawa and Pembroke.
A 23-year veteran of the OPP, Neufeld has served in a variety of roles at six OPP Detachments throughout eastern Ontario. Over the course of his career he has been a frontline patrol officer, a patrol supervisor and an OPP Emergency Response Team (ERT) member. He was also seconded to the Carleton Place Municipal Police Service for two years and has recently served as the detachment commander of the Ottawa OPP Detachment. Neufeld is a long-time resident of the Ottawa Valley and is married with two children.
“It is my sincere priviledge to be here,” said the inspector. “It's certainly a huge responsibility to be handed the keys to a detachment and it's not one I take lightly.”
He said he fully embraces community mobilization noting it is the key to resolving many problems that face the detachment catchment. One of the priorities for the detachment will be to enhance community safety and reduce victimization. He added that community mobilization and community safety is not a start and an end but an ongoing process with new ideas, innovation and changes. To that end, the detachment will be working with Project Northern Spotlight, an RCMP initiated law enforcement outreach operation that proactively targets vulnerable persons in the sex trade industry in an effort to identify and assist them as they may be at risk of human trafficking.
The RCMP is responsible for managing The Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre, which was established at RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa in 2005. Between 2005 and 2015, the Centre identified 308 human trafficking cases where human trafficking-specific charges have been laid. Of those cases, 93 per cent involved domestic human trafficking. Speaking with an expert on the problem recently, Neufeld was told the sex trade is known to exist around Canadian Armed Forces bases.
“Unfortunately around military bases there are a large amount of sex trade workers because they feel safer around soldiers than they would be with someone they met down in the market place,” he explained.
On behalf of council, Mayor Bob Sweet welcomed the inspector touting the great relationship that the town and its police services board has with the detachment.
“We appreciate the job that the men and the women of the detachment do for our community,” said Sweet.