Community engagement will be a priority for new Bracebridge OPP Detachment Commander
The new Bracebridge OPP Detachment Commander said he will pursue a community-based approach to policing.
“I don’t know if there are many officers who joined all those years ago with the intention of becoming a detachment commander, but as your career unfolds and you get to this point in your career and your decision-making process, you make decisions,” says Jason Nickle, who was officially named Detachment Commander on April 9. “Ultimately, I had no intention of reaching his rank, but now that I am here, it is an absolute honor to be able to lead the officers of this detachment and be able to serve the public in this capacity. .
He succeeded Insp. Mike Burton, who retired in February, making way for Nickle to serve as acting detachment commander while the force sought a permanent body to take on the post.
“I want to make it a place where people want to come,” Nickle says. “I want to make it a place where officers want to do a good job for the community.”
Nickle says this will involve taking a “three-pillar approach” to policing. Two of the pillars, criminal investigations and traffic enforcement, are data-driven, but the third, community engagement, is not.
“I want to see my officers in public,” he said. “I want to see them get off the cruisers, I want to see them walk downtown, I want to see them engage with the kids playing ball in the park. I really think it’s important to me to rebrand our image, if you will, making sure members of the public know that our agents are also members of the community.
An initial goal for Nickle will be to make Hwy. 11 and 400 safer. “I really discovered that it looked a lot like a race track on the highway. 11,” he says, noting that he is still commuting from his home in Victoria Harbor as he tries to find a home in Muskoka.
“One of my main mandates is to break down some of the barriers that existed in the past,” says Nickle.
Although he says communication with the OPP Huntsville Detachment is good, he wants to say more. Nickle says he plans to work on expanding the resource sharing arrangement between the two detachments, including maritime patrol and joint traffic units.
“There are changes that need to be made, absolutely, but I don’t necessarily want to come in and crack the whip, so to speak,” Nickle says. He wants to take a collaborative approach with officers on how to move forward. “I know that over the past couple of years there have been significant incidents involving members of the public that may have given a bit of a misinterpretation of what we’re doing at this detachment,” Nickle adds.
“Everyone in this building is doing a great job, and I really want to focus on that and move to a more humanistic approach,” Nickle says.