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COVID-19 has cost Greater Sudbury Police $220K so far

Money spent to keep staff healthy and the operation going during the pandemic, says police chief
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Special Constable Fortier shows off the PPE used during the decontamination of vehicles using the few air-fogging equipment. (Supplied)

Greater Sudbury Police Service has spent more than $220,000 on COVID-19-related requirements since the beginning of the year.

A report to the police services board shows the financial impact the virus has had on the service since Jan. 1. Police Chief Paul Pedersen said, for the most part, the money was spent to keep staff healthy and the operation going during the pandemic.

For example, GSPS has spent $40,338 on significant increases to cleaning and disinfecting buildings and workspaces, and includes a new system to disinfect the fleet of vehicles at the end of each shift using new air-fogging units.

“Cleaning and decontamination are going in full force, and will continue to go in full force,” said GSPS CAO Sharon Baiden. “It’s a new practice, and a cost we didn’t incur before, because it was instituted due to COVID-19.”

The decontamination is done at police headquarters with court security officers reassigned to perform the cleaning.

The health and safety committee will be reviewing the practice post pandemic and bring recommendations to the police services board.

Greater Sudbury Police also spent $56,013 to purchase 57 laptops, as well as $4,441 on computer hardware and software, including virtual communication mechanisms like Zoom, WebEx and GoToMeeting solutions, needed to facilitate work while physical distancing.

Another $70,383 was spent on large quantities of personal protective equipment and decontamination supplies, while $18,018 was spent on parking for members who are required to work during the pandemic.

Police spent $13,740 on facilities optimization which includes retrofits to prevent direct entry into police locations, most notably at the headquarters and District No. 2.

Furthermore, Greater Sudbury Police spent $4,323 on cots, $3,304 on furniture, $6,604 on hand sanitizer, $684 on thermometers, $454 on translation services and $952 on cellphones. 

Pedersen said his officers have demonstrated resilience, professionalism and dedication while being faced with a lot of uncertainty throughout these unprecedented times

“This has been a challenging time for all of our personnel who have handled a rapidly changing environment with grace ensuring that there was no interruption in our essential services,” said Pedersen. “Members from across the organization have stepped up into new roles that have evolved throughout this pandemic in order to fill gaps that were created by additional demands on our front-line. The only way to get through this is together and together our organization has overcome every obstacle that we have encountered.”

Much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same, he said.

“We are still responding to people in crisis, motor vehicle collisions, break and enters and assaults, but we have also turned our attention to education and prevention in order to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Pedersen said.