New policing initiatives are paying off, says Penticton's top cop - InfoNews

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New policing initiatives are paying off, says Penticton's top cop

FILE PHOTO- Penticton RCMP Superintendent Ted De Jager discussed some of the detachment's latest initiatives and successes with members of the media today, May 30, 2019.
May 30, 2019 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - With the busy summer law enforcement season fast approaching, Penticton’s top cop took a few moments today to talk to the media about some new programs and recent successes.

De Jager said a number of specialty enforcement groups are hitting Penticton streets in the coming days, complementing the detachment’s Targeted Enforcement Unit, which has been in operation for the past couple of years.

De Jager said the enforcement unit, which is mandate driven, has been very effective at targeting and arresting the small group of individuals responsible for 85 per cent of the city’s crime.

“We catch them all the time, especially super prolific people. Now we need to have some solutions to keep them from the public,” he said.

The Community Safety and Enforcement team, designed as an enforcement and outreach unit is now reaching out to people with mental health, drug addictions, and social-chronic conditions that force them into the downtown, or put them in need of housing.

“If we can get them off the street, then we can give them some help,” De Jager said.

The Street Enforcement unit, which just hit city streets, has a mandate to go after the city’s drug dealers.

“We want users off the streets and in treatment, and the drug dealers in jail,” De Jager says, adding addiction issues won’t be resolved by arresting drug users.

One of the most successful initiatives to date has been the work of the Community Active Support Table, or CAST, De Jager says.

The program was designed to provide solutions to issues otherwise unresolved, by connecting individuals with the social services they need.

De Jager said the Penticton model, which began operating in August 2018 has since been emulated by Williams Lake, West Kelowna and Kelowna.

Penticton’s group have dealt with 50 ’situations’ so far.

“That’s 50 people or groups, or families whose lives have been changed because they were connected to services,” De Jager says.

“Some of them have worked, some of them didn’t but the majority of them worked. The alternative is they are out on the street or going down a life of vulnerability,” he said, crediting the many social and government agencies that make up the table.

Penticton RCMP Const. James Grandy also noted the community support table’s ability to connect the various government ministries and local social service agencies, who might not otherwise communicate with each other.

“Connecting everyone and every issue at the table has been huge, very positive from an organizational point of view,” he said.

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