Local RCMP closes up shop

With one officer transferred and the other unable to work due to medical reasons, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has decided to close up its “storefront” office in Fort Frances.
And it may never reopen.
Sgt. Bob Grinstead, of the Thunder Bay RCMP detachment, said the move to pull down the sign in front of the Fort Frances office Monday, and reroute all calls to Thunder Bay, was a snap decision made because there was no one left to man it.
“We’ve got a situation where we have the detachment there but no officers,” he said. “Is it fair to say to the public that we’ve got a detachment there when there’s no one on site?”
But Sgt. Grinstead also said the debate to keep these “storefront” offices open has been ongoing for a number of years and that Fort Frances’ number could be up.
“There is a move afoot to close down satellites of the division,” he said. “I suspected the CO may see this as an opportune chance to do it.
“But it’s still under discussion,” he stressed.
The RCMP has dropped from 32 detachments to 12 in Ontario in the last three years, Sgt. Grinstead said. He noted the move has been to centralize detachments in large urban centres, closing down smaller operations in towns even the size of Peterborough.
“We have gone through, in Ontario, a shift in our mandate,” he explained, which is to focus on federal law enforcement such as drug trafficking, customs and excise, and immigration offenses.
“Because of our new mandate, it doesn’t make sense to have an office with two or three people,” he added. “We are not a front-line police force [in this province].”
Sgt. Grinstead expected the final decision on the fate of the Fort Frances office to be made in the next month or so. And if it does close for good, local residents with federal concerns will have to deal with the RCMP out of Thunder Bay.
“If there is a need for us to be in the area, we’ll be sending people out from Thunder Bay,” he said.