‘Operation Pumpkin’ gears up for patrol

With “Gate Night” and Hallowe’en coming up next week, area OPP and volunteers are gearing up again for “Operation Pumpkin”–the annual patrol aimed at preventing vandalism.
The program, in its sixth year here, has put a dent in the number of mischievous acts committed around town on “Gate Night,” noted Fort Frances OPP S/Sgt. Don Robertson, co-ordinator of “Operation Pumpkin.”
But with “Gate Night” falling on a Friday this year, the patrol may find it has its hands full this time around.
“We’ll be out from dark until whenever people settle down,” stressed S/Sgt. Robertson.
“This will sort of be an evaluation of how well ‘Operation Pumpkin’ is expending the vandalism,” he admitted. “We don’t know what to expect being it’s on a Friday.”
Although he had still to confirm a number of volunteers for the patrol, the local ham radio club will help provide communications support while janitorial staff with the local school boards will keep an eye on property that night.
“Operation Pumpkin” volunteers are requested not to intervene if they witness a crime on “Gate Night,” opting instead to contact police.
“They will be extra eyes for us [and] will have radio contact with someone in our office,” S/Sgt. Robertson said. “A member of the ham radio club will be in our office and have direct access to our communications system.”
With next Saturday being Hallowe’en, the OPP will have a few extra patrols and volunteers out to monitor the activities of the “ghosts and goblins” but S/Sgt. Robertson didn’t foresee much trouble spilling over from “Gate Night.”
“There’s going to be some activity on [Halloween] but traditionally it’s not a big problem,” he noted.
He stressed if anyone witnesses a crime on “Gate Night,” or any other time, to contact the OPP dispatch at 1-888-310-1122.