ESPANOLA – The Manitoulin-Espanola detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has a steady hand on the helm once more as former acting Inspector Megan Cavanagh has moved into the permanent role of detachment commander.
“I really enjoy the community and the people here. It’s been a really good experience,” she told The Expositor. “There’s just an overall welcoming demeanour of everyone I’ve met in the community, including the community leaders and service providers in the area.”
The news came through in mid-April that she had secured the permanent position within the detachment. The Manitoulin detachment in recent years has merged with the Espanola detachment to form one unified body and necessitated the upgrade of the top area role from a staff sergeant to an inspector, two ranks higher in the OPP hierarchy.
Inspector Cavanagh’s initial work upon joining the detachment in a temporary capacity was to meet with community partners and leaders to find ways of increasing community safety and well-being. She said that process has been moving along well to date.
“Our CPAC (Community Policing Advisory Committee) meetings have been going very well and we’ve come up with some joint solutions regarding community safety, pedestrian traffic and parking safety on the Island. We’re working with community partners for dog safety and have other projects that I’m looking forward to in community safety and well-being planning,” said Inspector Cavanagh.
Although her office is based in Espanola, Inspector Cavanagh regularly spends time at other branches and has seen first-hand many examples of the inter-community partnerships that exist on the Island.
“They all work very well together. It’s fairly impressive, actually,” she said.
Although she said being part of this detachment is fulfilling in its own right, Inspector Cavanagh said she is especially looking forward to making the most of her off-time in nature.
“You have great outdoors here; lots of activities, hiking trails and water,” she said. “And just the overall community. The community atmosphere is really great here. I was surprised to learn the Island didn’t have any (chain) stores—that really makes it unique and it’s kind of nice because you get a more authentic small-town feel.”
As to the unique challenges that may arise in this area, Inspector Cavanagh said she had not yet found any particular problems that may pose poignant or persistent pains.
“I’m still finding my way. Once you’re in a spot on a more permanent basis, then you find out more because (your team) knows you’re going to be here and they share more,” she said.
Going forward, Inspector Cavanagh said she wanted to ensure people understand that community safety is a community issue.
“It’s really important for all our community partners and leaders to work together for reaching that goal,” she said.