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