MANITOULIN—There’s a new community services officer (CSO) in town, Constable Marie Ford, a familiar face to many on Manitoulin as one of the most senior officers in the Manitoulin detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police with 24 years under her belt.
Constable Ford first came on the job in 1994, starting her career with the OPP in Napanee for six years before making the transfer to Manitoulin.
“I thought I’d just be here for four years,” she laughed, “but I never left.”
“Amazing Manitoulin, it’s just such a different place to work,” Constable Ford said of why she chose to make Manitoulin her home. “We had our kids here and soon realized what a great place it is to raise children.” Constable Ford and her husband, fellow Constable Steve Redmond, have three children.
“I worked the road right until I took this job,” she told The Expositor, admitting that her new role does give her occasion to miss the camaraderie of shiftwork. ‘Working 9 to 5’ is great for family life, and a treat for her children who are used to having both parents working shiftwork, but it will take some getting used to, not responding to calls, she added wistfully.
“I’m excited about this position and love being in the schools,” the constable continued, “with a strong focus on the high school.”
Constable Ford is at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) on an almost daily basis and has an office there, not that she uses it much as being present and available is more her style.
Communicating with the students, getting to know them and what they’re thinking, addressing the issue of underage drinking and drug abuse peppered with plenty of presentations are her goals for making headway at MSS.
CSO Ford also runs the DARE programs at the Island elementary schools, as well as both public schools in Massey.
“Being in the schools is a priority to me, addressing the concerns the administration may have,” she adds. “We have top notch schools here, with fantastic caring teachers and admin staff.”
As with the CSOs that came before her, Constable Ford will also take an active role with seats on the Manitoulin Injury Prevention Coalition, Domestic Violence Coalition and mental health committees, both here and in Espanola.
The officer said the public can also expect more press releases coming from the Manitoulin OPP, keeping them apprised of the good works of her fellow officers and their answers to calls for service.
When asked about her beginnings, Constable Ford explained that she and her family moved to Kingston from Scotland when she was five-years-old. Like many young adults, she didn’t know quite what she wanted to do, and enrolled in university to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree. Her roommate applied to the OPP and suggested Marie do the same thing. She did and, at age 21, became an officer of the law, and never looked back.