Kivi Park was host to heavy police presence on Friday, with Greater Sudbury Police Service members joining North Shore Search and Rescue volunteers for their annual practice.
The scenario was that a victim of a violent assault had been missing for approximately 20 hours at Kivi Park, with GSPS calling on North Shore Search and Rescue volunteers to help them out.
Volunteers were enlisted because, in the scenario at play, the suspect responsible for the violent assault was in custody and didn’t pose a threat, Const. Kevin Tremblay explained.
Tremblay took a few minutes to discuss the training exercise with Sudbury.com, between calls on his radio, including one indicating emergency responders had located the missing person.
Police located the missing person much earlier than Tremblay had expected, and he’d prepared to deliver more clues.
This, he said, is indicative of a highly-trained police force, though he clarified the annual training regiment remains important.
“These are perishable skills, and we want all of our members to be up to date and familiar with what they need to be familiar with in order to properly complete the task,” he said.
Approximately 20 police officers took part in the search alongside eight members of the volunteer North Shore Search and Rescue team.
“They are pretty vital in our missing person searches because it increases our manpower and capability of getting more areas searched quicker, and we’re really lucky to have them,” Tremblay said.
Search and rescue skills are most commonly used when tracking down people with dementia who have wandered off, overdue hunters, hikers and crime scenes, such as Friday’s scenario.
At Kivi Park, a drone was deployed, members searched the grounds and a grid search was slated to be conducted to search for the weapon found in the offence.
The annual practice is conducted in different areas of Greater Sudbury each year, and Tremblay said it was useful to have it take place at Kivi Park, where members unfamiliar with the property could get to know it better.
“We’ve got a great search team, we have a great program, we take pride in our capabilities,” Tremblay said, adding that they’ve strived to become familiar with emerging technologies.
This includes Project Lifesaver, a program in which people, such as those with dementia, are fitted with devices that track their movements.
Their success rate in tracking people down with the Project Lifesaver program is 100 per cent, with most people located within the first half-hour, Tremblay said.
Seen packing up gear at Kivi Park at mid-day Friday, a team of North Shore Search and Rescue members reflected on the speed with which the victim was found.
Member Mitch Sutherland said it was an impressive find, though it meant they didn’t get to run through the full gamut of their skill sets.
North Shore Search and Rescue is a volunteer, non-profit organization, he said, with approximately 35 members and always looking for more people to help out. Prior to the pandemic, they were responding to approximately 25 calls per year, with fewer in recent years.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.