MUSKOKA - The Ontario Provincial Police wants to honour an officer who died while on duty and it is looking for the District of Muskoka’s support.
Const. Peter Juneau (centre) asks District of Muskoka council for its support of a proposed bridge dedication for Ontario Provincial Police Constable Andrew Potts, who died on duty in 2005.
Photo by Alison Brownlee
Const. Peter Juneau spoke to district council on April 16 about a possible bridge dedication for Const. Andrew Potts, who died in July 2005 when his cruiser stuck a moose while responding to an emergency call.
“Our police family and the citizens of Muskoka suffered a great tragedy when Andrew Potts died in a car crash serving his province and the people he swore to protect,” said Juneau.
He read a letter to council from Potts’ family.
The family stated in the letter that it was too grief stricken to consider the offer of a bridge dedication made by the Ontario Provincial Police Association at the time of Potts’ death.
“‘With the encouragement of Andy’s fellow officers, friends and family, we (now) find ourselves willing to accept the bridge dedication request,’” read Juneau.
The Ministry of Transportation states bridge dedications are a gesture of respect intended to posthumously recognize police officers that have courageously and selflessly given their lives in the line of duty to preserve a free and peaceful society. Juneau said the intent is to dedicate the provincial overpass at Cedar Lane and Highway 11 in the Town of Bracebridge to Potts.
“We find this location to be fitting in that this is the primary exit from Highway 11 to the Bracebridge (police) detachment,” said Juneau.
The ministry requires written consent for such a dedication from the municipality in which the dedication is taking place, which includes both the district and the Town of Bracebridge.
All costs associated with the dedication are the responsibility of the ministry and the police association.
District Chair John Klinck read a recommendation to support Juneau’s request and councillors unanimously voted in favour of it.
Muskoka Lakes Mayor Alice Murphy said Potts has an amazing reputation in the community.
“Not a week goes by without his name coming up in some context,” she said. “I’m very appreciative this is happening.”
Juneau said police hope to hold a dedication ceremony the third week of September and invited district councillors to attend.
Officers made a delegation to Bracebridge council on April 17.
The town council added its support to the initiative as well.