@TorontoPolice Announce Enhancements to Neighbourhood Community Officer Program | Thurs., Sept.12th

@TorontoPolice Announce Enhancements to  Neighbourhood Community Officer Program | Thurs., Sept.12th

Superintendent David Rydizik: Thank You. Victor and good morning
everybody. Thank you very much for coming especially the community members that we
have in the back and some of our neighborhood community officers. As
Victor said I’m superintendent David Ridzik and I’m the unit commander of the
Community Partnerships. An engagement unit that oversees the neighborhood
community officer program over the entire city. Very excited about the
announcement we’re going to hear to make today. You’re going to be hearing from
several speakers including the Chief Mark Saunders our deputy Peter Yuen as
well as Professor Doug Thompson from Humber College who have played an
important role in shaping the neighborhood community officer program
that you’re gonna see and hear about today.
You’re also going to be seeing the three videos that we had produced that help
explain exactly what the neighborhood committee officer program is about. Like
I said earlier we do have some of our neighborhood community officers some of
which you’ll actually see that are in the video or are here with us today.
As well as some community members that are very familiar with the neighborhood
community officer program have been working closely with those particular
officers for several years now. And they are going to be available after this
media conference for you to speak to. Ånd we’ll identify them afterwards so that
you can reach out to them. But first and foremost I’d like to start off by
welcome to chief Saunders to come up to say a few words. Thank you superintendent
Rydzik from the community partnership and engagement unit . And a special thanks
to the members of the community that are here, thank you so much because this is
what it’s all about. And also to the neighborhood community officers and
thank you all the media folks that are here. We often hear from the public that
building partnerships and improving trust with the police are extremely
important to them. It is very important to the Toronto Police Service as well. As
we have learned the trust and partnership or the key pillars in a
success of our community focused policing approach. Being community
centric is a commitment that we made with the way forward. We know success is
about trust, it’s about building and keeping trust in our day to day
community interactions. I’m pleased to be here today today to talk about the
neighborhood community officer program and the enhancements we’ve made to help
more effectively serve communities across the city.
I’d like to show you three very short videos, which will tell the story of the program
and how it is played out at the street level. If we could please play the three
short videos *Videos playing* Toronto is very diverse and Toronto’s
growing always. You’ve two seconds either change it to
the positive or continue to being negative. Police officer used to walk the
beat and at some point we got into the cars and just became reactive. And then
the neighborhood officer program was developed. The neighborhood officer program was
developed to try and get officers entrenched into the neighborhoods. But we
started a very low point trust within the community hadn’t been that low in
years and years. We just started meeting people showing
people that we weren’t just there for lip service. How is everything? Are you
still going to the 519? Oh yes. How are you guys today? So far so good. Hi buddy. Pleased to meet you. You don’t go on a basketball court and say “I got next you” you have to earn that and that right there
is a development of trust. We’ve made mistakes and we’re working to
resolve those mistakes and mend those bridges that have been broken. We’re getting to know our area better
than ever and they’re getting to know us. When you consistently are there people
get to see you and all of a sudden the next time you say “I got next” They’re right there with you. *End of first video* *Start of second video* As an officer we want to extend our hand
we want to get to know people in the
community. Religion practice and in the
sense of community that exist that you won’t feel it somewhere else. The religion practice community for a long time was very
splintered. When part of the community
fell down no one know how to pick them
back up. And that’s not just read the
part to me that’s a lot of communities. Having them in the neighborhoods
there are amazing, beautiful people, they do care about peoples and they won’t
stand any stuff that people are doing
later. They’re amazing. Just call them. As community trust her and she brings us
forward they trust us. The crime rate is
decreasing we are working hard at that. And the only way we can continue as a by
us having relationships with our
community *End of second video* *Start of third video* as a neighborhood officer while I serve
in the position young kid had an
attitude the parents would say don’t
talk to them they’re bad so we’re trying to reach as many kids as
we can so amazing I met her – then under my
grace I found out when we went out and Becky we got out there to that miss I
can’t ride a bike so we worked with her and she
learned how to ride a bike Katherine came into my life just before
like I know started experiencing the
challenges that came into my life so how was school today? it was okay. as a neighbourhood
officer they get to see us on a regular
basis if you start now and you’re
positive and you’re respectful kids will
remember the rest of their lives and
when you do that on a regular basis then
kids kids thrive because we all want to
feel that we’re needed we all want to
feel that we’re being supported she took
her time and dropped her kids and ran to make sure she was there its just nice to have, to know, someone actually cares.
someone who is not related to me by blood *End of third video* Chief Mark Saunders: Great videos. These videos are available
on our website today and help tell the story of the impact our neighborhood
policing program is having. We were also grateful for the ongoing work by
researchers from Humber College to support us and help inform the evolution
of neighborhood policing in our city. And we’re pleased to have professor DougThompson
who’s here today. He’ll speak a little bit more about the work that they have
done to help us get better at what we do. By now you know that we’re all very
proud of this program and the neighborhood community officer program
and the real difference is that it has made right across the city this is why
it was so important for us to continue to enhance it.
The enhanced pilot has initial deployment of 44 neighborhood community
officers. Will now be expanding this enhanced program to provide the enhanced
program to a total of 127 neighborhood community officers. Deputy chief Peter
Yuen will come up later and talk a little bit more about that aspect.
Torontonians when a familiar trusted police service focused on community
safety and reducing crime through collaboration, partnerships, engagements
and empathy. This is a goal of the neighborhood community officer program,
practically speaking neighborhood officers deliver honest in a few ways.
They communicate and they get to know the community in in person with
individuals and as well as groups. This could mean meeting community
members for coffee like you saw in a video, attending local schools, getting to
know local business owners and attending community
events. The community is able to recognize our officers because they are
visible and present in their neighborhoods and most important they
are accessible. Neighborhood community officers will continue to work together
with communities and agencies to address public and community safety issues with
an informed understanding of the complex needs specific to each neighborhood.
These officers have stepped up and I’m very proud of the commitment to build
the community ties and relationships and trust needed to make this city safer. The
success of the program also depends on our communities, they need to both know
about and engage with this program. We need to keep talking and sharing the
information making this program work benefits all of us.
We’ve created a section of our website dedicated to the neighborhood community
officer program. The website provides background on a program and information
about officers with specific communities and I encourage you to visit the site to
learn more about this program. We’ve also created a hashtag
“together we are Toronto”, to share stories about the positive impact working
together in our communities can have on the city. We hope that you consider
retweeting or we sharing the content on your own social media platform. I want to
thank the community members who have participated in the initial and enhanced
pilot programs and to the officers that were quick to volunteer and ensure this
program is a success. The work continues on the neighborhood community officer
program but I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made to date and excited
about the future of the program and the real difference it will continue to make
in the lives of the people that we come across across this great city. I’d now
like to ask the deputy chief Peter Yuen to come out Deputy Peter Yuen: Good morning. Thank you Chief, as you saw
the videos and you heard from our chief speaking, this program started in 2013.
And as a service we asked ourselves are we doing this right? And it’s not for the
Toronto Police Service to say it’s doing it right so we went outside and was
partnered with Humber College and they have been working with our our officers
in the communities and they came up with some concrete enhancement to make this
program a little bit better. So I’m gonna go to I’m gonna highlight some of the
enough enhancement and moving forward all the neighbor officers
officers in this city will be operating under the same guidelines. First it’s a
standard mandate. What is the mandate of our neighbor community officers? They need
to know what their jobs are and so the basically it’s a job description that
has been we consulted with a community and our officers we came up with a
concrete job description. Number two we need training,
we just can’t put our officers into a coming and say go work the communities. We
give them specific training I’m gonna highlight a couple areas for you. Working
with vulnerable groups, homelessness ,mental health they need to understand
and appreciate the issues. Problem solving dispute resolutions these are
some of the things that the neighbor community officers will be getting a one
week specific training on the human aspect of policing. Number three timeline
we often talk about police officer being transient; we just don’t stay in a
neighborhood, not long enough to build that trust. Trust is very important. So in
consultation with the public and our officers. We believe a minimum four years
these officers will be working in these neighbors for minimum of four years to
build that trust. Lastly, branding the public wanted the
neighbor officers to be easily identifiable, because they don’t they
cannot differentiate between a priority response officer a ETF of ETF officer or
a neighborhood community officer. So as a result we’ve made some small changes, so
when they walk in the community the neighbors, the kids,
residents can identify these neighborhood community officers with the
branding. And if you turn around Kathleen in the back of their hat, the caps
it says neighbor officer and also the vehicles that they’re driving there will
be very clearly distinctive marking denoting neighborhood officers. And one
last feature I want to highlight is connectivity, each one of our neighbourhood
officers will be getting a cell phone and it’s connected officer.
What does that mean? That means communities can contact our neighbourhood
officers virtually 24/7. That contact and you know it may be just a simple call
for referrals for advice but our officers are there 24/7 to connect with
the community. So these are some of the enhancements that we have put in and as
of next week all our officers are neighbourhood neighbourhood community officers will be moving
forward the same enhancement across this city. I mentioned earlier about Humber
College are helping us and I want to thank them, because they’ve been with us
since 2014. Continuously to evaluate our program speak to our officers speak to
our community members and so I like at this time I’d like to invite a professor
Doug Thompson from Humber College to share with all of you some of his findings
about this program. Thank you Peter. So Humber College was
asked by the Toronto Police Service to evaluate the neighbourhood officer
program four years ago. Last year we presented our results that showed very
strong community support for the program. And gave the police our recommendations
on how to improve the service. The Toronto Police Service implemented most
of these recommendations. And we are currently conducting surveys in select
Toronto communities, to find out the community’s attitudes and opinions about
these enhancements to the neighbourhood officer program. We’re also conducting
surveys of the officers themselves to find out their opinions and attitudes
towards their changes to their roles. The surveys of the communities in the police
will be wrapping up in November 2019 and our final results will be published
next year in 2020. So far from the dot we’ve connected from the Toronto
communities we come up with several key themes. Members of the community in which
they own enhance neighbourhood officers work strongly support being able to
identify their officers. People feel safer in their communities with the
neighbourhood officers there and their fuel less threats from crime gangs and
gang violence. And critically community members see the neighbourhood officers
as part of their community and they are far more willing to talk to these
officers. The results from surveys and focus groups of the officers themselves
are also very promising. The officers strongly support the new
branding as “neighbourhood officers” there is they like the new cell phones and
they feel that being very successful inside the communities in which they
work. The research that we’ve been conducted with the Toronto Police has
been a very exciting opportunity for Humber and the research team. I would
like to thank all the community agencies and community members who have assisted
us in this research and hopefully will continue to assist us in this research
I’d also like to thank the Toronto Police Service and in particular the
neighbourhood officers. For their assistance and allowing us to
conduct the research and this research has been independent and accurate. It is
uncommon for academic research recommendations be taken up so quickly
by government agency. And then to be invited back to conduct further research
on the results of this and I’d like to thank them all thank you. Superintendent David Rydzik: Thank You
professor Thompson and and folks this concludes the formal part of the media
press conference here today. I’d like to remind you that we do have our
neighborhood officers as well as community members, that are familiar with
the program that are here to answer any questions you would like as well as well
as other senior officers. So thank you very much once again for coming out and
I hope you’ll ask some questions about our program. Reporter *inaudible* Deputy Chief Peter Yuen: Well certainly we have a job profile for the
neighborhood community officers which we have and they have to be a certainly
experienced officer and has demonstrated competence in working with diverse
communities, professionalism understanding compassion and as as well
as that being a police officer we we need these officers that want to be in
there and they want to work with the community. So there’s a selection
process is very string stringent very very critical and the unit commanders of
all our divisions have been given that job profiles and a profile to select
these neighborhood officer community officers. Reporter *inaudible* Deputy Chief Peter Yuen Yes I spoke about uh there’s a one-week
training that’s 40 hours. And every year there they will go back for additional
trainings to meet the community needs and I highlight as a number of training
syllabus such as a problem-solving, such as working with diverse community, such
as work of vulnerable groups so these are things that these neighbourhood officers
will be getting training in And one of the new things that the neighbourhood
officers community officers identifies dispute resolution so, we are going to
give them additional training on resolving disputes because once we see
that on a daily basis when they work in neighbourhoods that neighbours often don’t
get along or people don’t get along and we this is a drain on police resources.
So the neighbourhood officer coming officers are trained. To deal with to
deal how to resolve disputes before they escalate until larger issues the
implementation rules next. Reporter *inaudible* Deputy Chief Peter Yuen: The forward implementation roll is next monday so all these enhancement will be put in. Because
we had a six-month pilot project in eight neighborhoods in different
divisions across the city and we selected them two, for the enhancement
pilot so this is the pilot has been concluded and as of Monday all existing
neighbourhood community officers in the city Toronto Police Service will have this
type of enhancements moving forward. Reporter *inaudible* Deputy Chief peter Yuen: One of the things that I you know their
number enhancement I give you some key highlights. One of the enhancement is
based from feedback from the community and from there from the neighborhood
community officer said the hours are not fixated they’re not rigid, they work
according to what the communities needs are. So if there is an issue in certain area 10
o’clock at night they’re not gonna be fixating saying I worked a shift and I
can’t come. So average state there’ll be problem-solving, they’ll be visiting
different different businesses, community centers, schools if the school you know
there’s issues in the schools they will be forming relationship partnership but
never but we never forget that we’re police officers so Public Safety’s
always gonna be first and foremost. So they were participated in some crime
management initiative such as you know free containers in the area or even
local traffic issue so their day is – and every month. And I I’m gonna mention
this to the to the folks here that they will be submitting a report, very fulsome
report to myself talking about how many people they have refer, how many people
to have identifies that risk, how many community partnerships they
have built so all these things on top of their regular policing duties. So their
day is quite quite full quite full. Reporter *inaudible* Deputy Chief Peter Yuen: Well the officer is right here. You wanna her to share that with you? Officer?
I think she’s a little shy but I think this young lady is now gone to
university she’s been working with 42 division labour community officers and I
know Kathleen has made a great in huge impact in her life. Kathleen are you here?
You don’t don’t, I come on don’t be shy Constable Kathleen Petersen: um yes Stella
she just had a she had a graduation she was unable to have any family members
attend so she asked if I could go so I made it down I have two kids myself so I
had to drop them and then go to the graduation. So that’s what she was
referring to yes sure. Reporter: Officer. Could i just get your first and last name and your rank? It’s Kathleen Petersen and my badge is five four nine
zero Constable Victor Kwong: Okay thank you very much, that concludes
today’s conference some of the officers and some of the
higher command will be available for one-on-one interviews thank you.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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