Mickey Dumont/The Portage Citizen:
As Chief of Police for the city of Portage la Prairie and the commander for the greater Central Plains detachment, Insp. Jarrid St. Pierre told the Portage la Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce/Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie Joint Luncheon Nov. 20, his vision for policing here is based on community cooperation.
“If all we have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” said Insp. St. Pierre. “With that in mind, the police are not the only tool in this community. By working together on early intervention we can prevent crime and expand our tools. When we look at other cities and communities that are successful, they find success in collaboration with each other to prevent social issues that contribute to crime. They have safer communities because of collaboration.”
The City of Possibilities is facing a great opportunity for expansion, growth and prosperity, he said in his speech. The inspector explained with growth comes new challenges. A trend in policing today is to partner with the community and collaborate on solutions while managing social issues to prevent and reduce crime.
“The RCMP in many communities has started community mobilization initiatives by building relationships and connecting many public services, non-profits and the private sector.
“Research shows prevention reduces crime, health and safety concerns. The Portage Hub (risk-driven collaborative intervention model of community mobilization) is our community mobilization initiative and one we can heavily advocate for. If properly endorsed, this prevention model is going to enhance our community safety, reduce recidivism and be more proactive. Developing and maintaining meaningful partnerships will be a big key to this community’s success.”
Insp. St. Pierre quoted Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern-day policing: “the police are the people and the people are the police”. Peel also said the ability of police officers to be effective in the performance of their duties is dependent upon the public’s approval of police actions; therefore, the willing assistance of the public is essential.
Insp. St. Pierre didn’t go as far as to say Portage would see beat cops like the “Bobbies” Peel put on the streets in England. He did add, “Without you, we’re limited in our success to make Portage a safer community. Your assistance will help our approach at better management and at targeting hot spots.
“Another prevention strategy that we have incorporated is being information and intelligence-led. This means that you are our eyes and ears while we are busy attending to other matters in the community. By engaging our district crime analysts we are better able to predict problem areas to work to prevent social problems before they happen and through partnership and presence. Together, as this community grows, we can create a tipping point and be preventative just like New York City did in the early 90s.
“As our community begins to understand and experience the power and success of collaboration it is important now more than ever to continue this momentum and develop Portage la Prairie into one of Canada’s safest cities,” said Insp. St. Pierre.
The new top cop here knows his work is cut out for him and his team.
Last week the nation was again reminded by Maclean’s, Canada’s national news magazine, where Portage la Prairie sits in the overall national crime rankings.
The study ranks Canadian communities using Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index, which measures all police-reported crime, considering both the volume and seriousness of offences.
While the consensus is one where citizens feel confidently safe and Portage la Prairie is a great place to live, work and raise a family, it’s a harder sell to attract the families we need to move into the city.