COLUMN: Good policing is about relationships

Delta Police relies on strong community partnerships

In past columns I have written about the importance of planning.

A big part of our strategy at Delta Police is leveraging resources from our partners, whether it is partnering with the RCMP Emergency Response Team or with Fraser Health in our approach to dealing with the mentally ill.

We are always looking to improve how we do our job by creating efficiencies or drawing from subject matter experts.

It goes without saying (but I will anyways), that the most important partnership is with the public we serve. In Delta this past spring, we relied heavily on public input when we developed our 2014-2018 strategic plan.

It is important that we understand the public’s perspective on crime and safety and listen to what really matters to people. We do so not only through a formal planning process but through day to day contact with citizens. We must always listen and react to public input and concerns.

It is our duty to meet demands – particularly those of the public – and to do that with any degree of efficiency we have to be strategic by entering into various partnerships.

At Delta Police, our partnerships cover a broad range of services, from K9 to Forensic Identification and from the Real Time Intelligence Centre to the Unsolved Homicide Unit.

By entering into these relationships and contributing resources to the complex activities that require specialized training and intense capital investment, we are able to focus on our community-based policing strategies.

It is because of these partnerships that Delta Police can respond to every call and spend time on proactive and problem solving strategies.

I say it often because it is worth repeating: we have to sweat the small stuff because it is the small issues that become our big problems.

It is the role of a community-focused police department to deal effectively with what is considered to be “low-level” crime. Without that ability, low-level crime evolves into more serious crime.

The famous Broken Windows Theory proved that minor offences are indicators for more serious crime. When New York City was ranked as having one of the highest homicide rates in North America, the police cracked down on crime such as graffiti and fare evasion.

The results were remarkable. The city evolved from being one of the most violent in North America, to one of the safest. There was no crackdown on homicides, instead there was an investment into community-based policing.

Thanks to the integrated policing model in the Metro Vancouver region, Delta is able to continue to invest the same way.

Jim Cessford is chief of the Delta Police Department and has spent more than 40 years in law enforcement.

 

 

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