The Chatham-Kent Police Service (CKPS) hopes to train more eyes and ears to help combat crime.
These sensory elements won’t be attached to any new police officers, but are rather part of the anatomy of everyday citizens.
CKPS deputy chief Gary Conn said the service has a community mobilization project underway in hopes of improving safety and suppressing crime.
The main weapon is to engage the public to help develop strategies to improve overall community safety, he said.
“Community policing is getting people mobilized and ultimately getting them engaged,” Conn said. “Citizens are our eyes and ears, but not our hands and our feet. If they see or hear something, they report it to the police and let us take it from there.”
The CKPS received provincial grant money after applying under the Proceeds of Crime Frontline Policing Grant Program, Conn said, from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Conn credits Sgt. Jim Lynds for bringing community partners together to help develop strategies. Those partners include the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre, the C-K Landlords Association, the United Way of Chatham-Kent, East Side Pride and the Crime Prevention Board.
Part of the grant funds a contract position of an academic project co-ordinator, James Cox, who was hired to analyze and research data to help improve community engagement and develop strategic planning.
“In consultation with local community partners, we hope to identify local concerns, and with input develop strategies to resolve those concerns,” Conn said.
The police will take the effort one step farther by holding workshops in in various Chatham-Kent communities to hear from the public, Conn said.
“What is a primary concern in your specific community? It’s not just what we think is a possible area of concern, it’s what the public thinks is a problem area,” he said.