Our Role in an Emergency Situation

Guelph Police officers do many things during an emergency, but most importantly they must help keep people safe. Officers could be tasked to direct traffic, evacuate an area, provide security, and investigate a crime.

Normally the first officer to arrive is the officer who takes charge. This officer becomes the incident commander for police. All other officers arriving, report to this officer, until a supervisor arrives. The size and type of the incident may require another service to help out or take the lead - this could be Fire, Water, Public Works or Public Health. Police will follow the directions of the other agency and support them if the incident is theirs - fire, water etc.

All members of the Police Service have had training in the Incident Management System (IMS). In a community wide emergency, or an emergency that requires coordination, we use IMS. This is an easy system that can vary in size from one person, to many, many people to cover a big emergency. IMS divides the tasks that need to be done into smaller pieces, so that specialists can look after them. IMS also lets City of Guelph departments work together efficiently and cooperatively.

In an emergency that requires more than one City service, we have officers that don't go to the emergency site. They work with other municipal departments and members of Council to ensure that the needs of the rest of the City are met in addition to whatever emergency situation is occurring. At big emergencies or an emergency that is going to go on for a long time, our officers may need the help of another Police Service, and our IMS system makes this happen. Other Police Service officers can work side by side with our Police Officers.

Currently, the best way to get information relating to ongoing emergencies is to listen to local radio and to monitor the City's website. Press releases will normally come from the City and other information will be provided through the City's public information line. On rare occasions, a telephone message system may be initiated by the police at the request of a control group member to pass messages to specific areas of the City concerning things like evacuation or telling people to remain in their homes, where it is safer than going outside.

For more information read our full-length report.