Select Walpole Island police officers return to duty

Walpole Island Governance Building. August, 2020 Photo courtesy of James Jenkins.

Some police officers at the Walpole Island First Nation are returning back to work after COVID-19 concerns sent them all home temporarily.

On December 28, it was announced that The Walpole Island Police Department was closed due to a possible COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, Ontario Provincial Police took over policing the community.

According to a video update on Sunday by Councillor Ron Soney, not all police officers were affected. However, all officers were tested for the virus in order to be cleared to return to work.

“Officers required to quarantine will continue to do so and those cleared by public health will be returning to duty,” he said.

Soney added that the police department building has been sanitized and additional personal protective equipment has been ordered.

“The OPP will continue to provide support and coverage as required,” Soney explained.

According to Soney, there is one active case of COVID-19 within the Walpole Island community. Some of the police officers live off-reserve and positive cases within its police force may not be reflected in local COVID-19 statistics.

To date, there have been 24 cases on Walpole Island total including one death.

“We appreciate the community understanding and cooperation as we move through all aspects of this pandemic and lockdown,” said Soney. “Please continue vigilance [and] recommended precautions.”

The Walpole Island Health Centre will resume on-site testing for COVID-19 on Monday.