Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Police & Region Working Together

Last week, the Chamber of Commerce hosted the Mayor’s Breakfast at the Lazy Loon. I used the opportunity to update Chamber members on the coming year’s significant infrastructure improvements and major planning issues. I also spoke about the Niagara Regional Police Service.

As you may have heard, through great policing and involvement from the community, the NRP quickly arrested a suspect for the four armed robberies of local convenience stores. On your behalf, I offered my deep appreciation for their quick and excellent work.

I also thanked the Police for their help dealing with the pool vandalism from summer of 2007. As you may recall, the Police Service suggested the use of a “Community Justice Circle” to help resolve the matter once five young offenders had been caught. Last month, Town staff informed Council that all matters relating to the pool vandalism had been resolved; the youths adhered to a curfew, received counselling, completed 50 hours of community service (in addition to the mandated 40 hours for school), and financially compensated the Town for damages.

I am pleased because I believe that both the young offenders and the Town have received much more out of this process than we would have under the conventional court system.

Finally, I am pleased to let you know that I was honoured to have played a role in the recent resolution of the OCCOPS dispute between the Region and the Niagara Region Police Board. I made the motion that amended the staff recommendations and helped pave the way for an ultimate resolution.

No doubt the final resolution came about because of renewed talks between the Region and the Police Board. I commend the leadership of Regional Chair Peter Partington and Police Chief Wendy Southall in finally resolving the matter.

The way forward will allow for joint Police / Regional plan. The plan will provide the Police with the appropriate and best facilities that they need for effective and efficient policing. The plan will also allow for better managed financing – more respectful of your Regional property tax investment. Finally, the plan will allow for planning issues to be solved and potential partnerships to be solidified.

Now, the Police and Region can move forward together for benefit of all residents and taxpayers. Now, the NRPS can continue to do more of what they do best – service and protection.