Community policing is an approach to crime reduction that involves members of the community as active participants. Community consultations, community partnerships, problem solving, and prevention are all hallmarks of community policing. Under a community policing approach, community residents play a role in identifying local crime issues and help establish policing priorities, and front line police officers develop problem-solving strategies in partnership with community members. Depending on the issue and the neighbourhood, such strategies could include the use of foot patrols, community stations or other tactics designed to increase police community contact and intelligence sharing. In the long term, crime prevention strategies are introduced and implemented throughout the community.
RCMP community advisory committees are a good example of a community policing approach. Volunteer members representing various community organizations meet to discuss community concerns in order to assist police officers in addressing public safety issues. The committee’s goals are to develop and implement strategies to improve crime prevention and community policing.
Examples of municipalities implementing community policing approaches include:
- Grande Prairie
- Lakeshore Regional Police Service
- Mountainview County
- Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
- Spruce Grove
School Liaison Officers
The RCMP School Liaison Program is a program that provides a police resource for students, staff and parents. The program covers both elementary and high schools, with the school liaison officer working directly with the high schools and general duty police officers covering the elementary schools. The school liaison officer is responsible for delivering safety and crime prevention lessons to students; being a resource to students, staff, parents; enhancing the safety and security of the schools; investigating offences relating to the schools; and supporting crime prevention and community relations to meet the diverse needs of the residents in the school community.
The RCMP participates in several community programs that facilitate crime prevention, maintain open communication between the public and the RCMP, and create a sense of community safety and well-being. These include:
- The Centre for Youth Crime Prevention, which provides youth with evidence-informed and age appropriate crime prevention messages, information, tools, and programs to prevent youth crime and victimization.
- The Auxiliary Constable Program, which gives citizens the opportunity to assist RCMP members and participate in community activities that relate to public safety and crime prevention.
- The Community Cadet Corps, which encourages youth to make positive choices in relation to lifestyle, health and career.
- Traffic Advisory Committees, which enable citizens to find solutions to traffic safety concerns and share their findings with the public and police.
- Victim Services, which is a client-centered program that provides free and timely support, assistance, referrals and information to persons who have been affected by crime and tragedy.
- Safety programs such as Neighbourhood Watch, Citizens on Patrol, Business Watch, and Rural Crime Watch, which assist the police by patrolling the streets, keeping a watchful eye on suspicious activity, and reporting it to the police.
- Search and Rescue, which provides teams of trained volunteers whose primary goal is to provide extra help to police officers in search and rescue activity.
- Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit program that relies on the cooperation between the police, the media, and the public to report information to solve serious crimes.
- The Wandering Registry, which assists the Alzheimer’s Society by registering wandering persons for the Safely Home Program.
Other community programs:
- Ridge Regional Public Safety Services is a regional collaboration that provides the Town of Raymond, Town of Magrath, Village of Stirling, and County of Warner with bylaw and traffic enforcement.
- The City of Brooks has announced a new Municipal Enforcement Volunteer Program created to enhance community safety and education initiatives. Volunteers will work alongside and under the direction of Municipal Enforcement Officers, assisting in activities including but not limited to educational presentations, safety events, and community events. For more information, please contact Lisa Tiffin, Manager of Shared Services, at 403-362-3333.