When parents drop their children off at daycare, they kiss them goodbye and head off to work, run errands or appointments. They assume they have left their children in a safe environment. That is usually the case. But unfortunately, on a cold November day in 2013, it wasn’t.
Responding to mental health calls is now all too common in policing. In a recent 19-month period, our officers apprehended 1,753 people under the Mental Health Act. But thanks to our great partnerships with Ontario Shores, Durham Mental Health Services and other community resources, we have specialized training for officers to help them manage these unique calls.
There are days when officers are lucky to go home to their families at night, and the day these officers intercepted a stolen vehicle was one of them.
A high-powered stolen car would not stop, despite the efforts of multiple police cruisers. Driving erratically through several Oshawa subdivisions around lunchtime on May 30, 2012, the vehicle avoided the police, smashed into parked vehicles and kept racing around. Constables Gerry Suthers and Tracey Weightman tried numerous times to stop it by blocking it in and confronting the driver. As he evaded capture and kept speeding away, they contacted all available units to help.
You never know, day to day, what kind of calls you’ll receive as a communicator. From directions to a local restaurant to UFO sightings, they have to be ready for anything.
On this specific night, 911 Operator Rebecca Astles answered the phone and heard the faint whispers of a woman in trouble. Realizing the woman was using an old, unregistered cellphone, and that she didn’t speak English, Rebecca immediately brought in our AT&T interpreter service. The words “husband” and “father” were eventually made out and the fact the woman needed help. The woman did not know where she was.