Meet Espanola-Manitoulin’s newest OPP detachment commander

Manitoulin-Espanola Ontario Provincial Police Acting Inspector Megan Cavanagh.

LITTLE CURRENT—There’s a new sheriff in town. Or, rather, a new acting inspector in the Manitoulin-Espanola detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) by the name of Megan Cavanagh. 

“It’s quite nice to be here; it’s a beautiful area here on the Island and I’ve never worked around here before,” says Acting Inspector Cavanagh, who has worked with the OPP since 1993. In that time, she has mainly worked throughout the East region, having started her career in Prescott.

“It’s been real nice to work throughout the province to meet new people and get to work with different communities,” she says.

The ‘acting’ part of her title refers to the nature of this post. She has the temporary position until April, at which time the OPP will name a permanent person to fill the role. Acting Inspector Cavanagh’s current ‘home’ detachment is Superior East, an area that includes communities such as Wawa, Dubreuilville, White River, Hornepayne and Chapleau.

The duties of an acting inspector are more geared toward higher-level planning and operations management, such as planning long-term strategies to address issues in the community and working with community partners and stakeholders for crime prevention.

Acting Inspector Cavanagh’s position is technically based in Espanola, but she can work out of different detachments as required, based on community needs. During her career with the OPP she has done crime work, been in the specialized traffic unit, worked in staff development and training, detachment work and general law enforcement. She has been stationed with the Manitoulin-Espanola detachment for two weeks now, the first of which was dedicated to training.

“Right now, my job involves learning the area, meeting our community partners and leaders to find ways to increase community safety and well-being,” she says. 

Acting Inspector Cavanagh adds that she sees a lot of promise in Ontario’s Mobilization and Engagement Model for Community Policing, a strategy released in 2010 that aims to align community members and service agencies with the police force in an attempt to improve community safety, security and health. It also states that each community will have a naturally stronger or more appropriate service, and that service should take the lead role in each case so the effort is more effective.

“I’ve seen some great things when communities come together and I’m looking forward to experiencing more of that here,” says Acting Inspector Cavanagh.

When the Espanola Police Service merged with the OPP, the OPP’s service area had expanded and this resulted in staffing changes. Formerly, the top-ranking officer in the detachment, also known as the detachment commander, was a staff sergeant. With the increase in area, officers and serviced population, the rank of the detachment commander has increased from staff sergeant to inspector. She says there will be a new operations manager in the detachment, Staff Sergeant Terry Foreshew, who will be arriving in mid-January.

As for the quieter Island pace compared to the bustling metropolis of Wawa, she says she enjoys working in small communities.

“They tend to be more intimate and offer more opportunities to work together,” she says.