Ea­ton takes the reins

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - FRONT PAGE - PA­TRICK BALES

There’s a new sher­iff in town. Insp. Veron­ica Ea­ton of­fi­cially took com­mand of the Oril­lia OPP de­tach­ment Mon­day.

Ea­ton, a nearly 22-year vet­eran of polic­ing, is the new com­mand­ing of­fi­cer re­plac­ing Insp. Pat Mor­ris, who left the top post to be­come deputy di­rec­tor of the OPP’s Provincial Op­er­a­tions In­tel­li­gence Bureau.

A hand­ful of dig­ni­taries from Oril­lia and the sur­round­ing town­ships pa­trolled by the OPP were on hand to com­mem­o­rate the switch.

The old boss didn’t feel it nec­es­sary to leave the new boss with any sage wis­dom.

“Veron­ica knows the de­tach­ment; she’s been here be­fore and knows the com­mu­nity,” Mor­ris said. “She’s been in Cen­tral Re­gion for a long time and been a de­tach­ment com­man­der be­fore. We’ve al­ready talked about lots of stuff and what’s go­ing on.”

For Mor­ris, he leaves the city de­tach­ment af­ter nearly three years at the helm. He said his big­gest ac­com­plish­ment was the fo­cus on com­mu­nity polic­ing.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is more of a fo­cus on the com­mu­nity, out­side of the fancy words and poli­cies and pro­grams,” Mor­ris said. “Things like our foot pa­trol, like our Oril­lia com­mu­nity ac­tion net­work and sit­u­a­tion ta­ble and our men­tal health pro­to­cols that we fol­low. Just be­ing re­ally en­gaged in the com­mu­nity and re­mem­ber­ing ev­ery day that they’re the peo­ple that mat­ter most.”

She’s been back in the city for about a week, but Ea­ton is ea­ger to carry on some of what Mor­ris has started.

“I’m just look­ing to con­tinue the great work that Pat’s done,” she said. “He’s set along some great ground­work and I’m go­ing to con­tinue along with that as we go for­ward. Sup­port the peo­ple of the de­tach­ment and sup­port the mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.”

As Mor­ris al­luded to, Ea­ton has been posted to Oril­lia in the past. From 2009 un­til 2014, she was a sergeant on the road work­ing out of the Oril­lia de­tach­ment. She then left the po­si­tion to take on the role of ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer for Deputy Com­mis­sioner Brad Blair at the traf­fic safety and op­er­a­tional sup­port com­mand.

From 2015 to 2016, Ea­ton has served as in­terim de­tach­ment com­man­der in Bar­rie.

The change of com­mand cer­e­mony was a quick for­mal pre­sen­ta­tion, fol­lowed by speeches and a re­cep­tion. Dur­ing the change over, the Cana­dian flag flown out­side the de­tach­ment was low­ered and pre­sented to Mor­ris. Ea­ton then pro­duced a new Cana­dian flag that was raised to sig­nify the new com­mand­ing of­fi­cer.

Ea­ton is the first fe­male de­tach­ment com­man­der in the Oril­lia de­tach­ment’s his­tory.

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

Insp. Veron­ica Ea­ton, left, the new de­tach­ment com­man­der for the Oril­lia OPP, stands with her pre­de­ces­sor, Insp. Pat Mor­ris.

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