Monday, 20 February 2017

Police efforts to engage youths in our neighbourhood

February 20, 2017

Port Hope Police Service
55 Fox Road
Port Hope

RE: A suggestion for community engagement

Dear Sir/Madam:

A recent front-page article by Dominik Wisniewski in Northumberland News spoke enthusiastically about efforts of police in Port Hope “to interact with youth and focusing on community based policing.” The editorial in the same edition of The News spoke of the importance of “making sure police are a part of the community rather than a force against it.”

I write today in support of police efforts to build community relationships, not only generally within Port Hope, which has been my town since 1984, but also particularly within my own neighbourhood, where I have lived for almost 30 years.

Some of us call our neighbourhood Wellington Heights, because it is uphill from the downtown area and Wellington Street is its backbone. The police are not strangers to us. However, except when police are on an emergency call, our neighbourhood is a drive-thru for them. Our view of officers is primarily through the windows of their patrol cars. In Wellington Heights, police practice drive-by policing.

As evidence of Port Hope Police engagement with the community, the article reported Insp. Strongman’s mention of ongoing daily foot patrols in the downtown area. I write today with a modest suggestion towards extending those foot patrols into my neighbourhood. We have a large population that includes many young people. On weekday mornings, some of these youths walk to Beatrice Strong School, some down Wellington and along Croft St. Others wait at school bus stops, older ones at the top of Wellington, younger ones part way down Wellington on the west side. My suggestion is this:

On occasion, perhaps once a month, an officer will walk along Wellington, the length of our neighbourhood, at a time when some of these youths are on their way to school.

Well, that’s it: just an idea for giving young people a chance to hear a "Hi Kids" from someone who is important to their health and safety. Thank you for providing me with this opportunity, on Family Day, to comment on a matter of importance to us all.

Very sincerely,

William Hayes

Cc: Port Hope Police Services Board
Councillor Les Andrews
Councillor Greg Burns
Reporter Dominik Wisniewski