Since graduating from Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes High School in 1994, Provincial Constable Andrew Potts’ goal was to become an Ontario Provincial Police officer. He prepared himself by furthering his education and by gaining related experience.
After high school he attended Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough and received his diploma in police education in 1996. He continued his education at The University of Western Ontario in London. During the summer of 1995 he was a member of the Muskoka Lakes Marine Patrol. The marine patrol educated boaters and worked alongside Bracebridge OPP Marine Unit officers. The following summer he joined the Bracebridge OPP Marine Unit as a student assisting officers help make the waterways of Muskoka safer for all.
Twenty-two year-old probationary Provincial Constable Andrew Potts started his career with the OPP on January 5, 1998, as a member of Class # 282 at the Ontario Police College (OPC) in Aylmer. After completing 5 months of training at OPC and the OPP Academy in Orillia, he reported to Pickle Lake Detachment in Northwestern Ontario on April 30th. Under the tutelage of a coach officer he successfully completed his probationary period and was appointed a permanent member of the OPP on December 3, 1998.
While at Pickle Lake Detachment Provincial Constable Potts received the Commissioner’s Citation for Lifesaving. This prestigious award was bestowed upon him as a result of helping save the life of a 23 year-old victim of a house fire on January 8, 2000 on the Mishkeegogamang First Nations Reserve, 70 km south of Pickle Lake. Provincial Constable Potts and his partner were responding to assist a First Nations officer who had pulled a critically injured man from a house fire. With heavy snow falling and poor road conditions the ambulance response time was expected to be lengthy. As a result of the exigent situation the OPP officers transported the victim in their cruiser. Enroute the victim stopped breathing several times. Provincial Constable Potts safely operated the cruiser in the slippery weather while his partner administered artificial respiration. The victim safely arrived at hospital and was eventually was airlifted to Thunder Bay where he made a full recovery.
After completing his 2-year posting in Pickle Lake, Provincial Constable Potts returned home to serve the citizens of Muskoka. He started at Bracebridge Detachment on May 2, 2000, working as a uniform law enforcement officer. Since then, numerous positive comments have been added to his personnel file from fellow officers and supervisors complimenting the professional manner he used when assisting them resolve dangerous and/or violent situations.
On May 20, 2004, Provincial Constable Potts completed the Ontario Police College Advanced Patrol Training course. During his seven and a half years with the OPP he maintained excellent physical conditioning and received the Ontario Police Fitness Award on several occasions. Provincial Constable Potts possessed the personal qualities one would expect in an OPP officer. He had common sense, was tenacious, fair and level headed under pressure. He had aspirations of becoming a member of the OPP Tactical and Rescue Unit (TRU team) and was currently training hard for the upcoming TRU selection course this fall.
Provincial Constable Potts was a caring individual with close family ties to the community of Muskoka. His promising career and life was tragically cut short on July 20, 2005; however, his accomplishments will always be admired and he will never be forgotten. Andy was a pleasure to work with and became a close friend with many officers at Bracebridge Detachment. He will be dearly missed by all.