Community Policing is policing that seeks to integrate officers into the local community in order to reduce crime and foster good community relations.
For decades, law enforcement has been seen as a reactionary service, whereby officers only responded from call to call and while on general patrol became a faceless entity seen only momentarily as they passed in their patrol vehicle.
Prior to this, officers were seen as part of the community they patrolled and created a bond of trust and reliance between the police and the public. This was accomplished by a number of strategies that the West Grey Police Service has initiated as part of their Community Oriented Policing Program.
First, the Municipality is divided into three zones with officers assigned to each zone on a long term basis. Each officer is responsible for making contacts in their zone. Each is also responsible for keeping abreast of crime trends or special problems in their respective zones, and to develop strategies with the community to help solve these problems. These zones are:
Zone 1: the former Bentinck Township
Zone 2: the former Normanby Township, Ayton and Neustadt
Zone 3:The former Town of Durham and former Glenelg Township.
A sub-station for Zone 2 is located in Ayton. Officers currently assigned Zone 2 are required to complete reports at the Ayton Office rather than returning to the Durham office. This sub-station can also serve as a place to meet with residents regarding complaints, investigations and community issues.
Another initiative is increased levels of foot patrol in the communities we serve. Officers are required to complete a certain level of foot patrol within their respective patrol zones. Officers are also required to conduct door checks of businesses after they have closed to ensure they are secure. Officers are also required to attend sports functions such as hockey games in their respective patrol zones.
Finally, it is important to mention that Community Oriented Policing is also the responsibility of the citizens of the community. Community Oriented Policing is a collaborative effort between the police and the community that identifies problems and involves all elements of the community in the search for solutions to these problems.