For a second straight year, Police Week in Ontario (May 9 – 15) is a virtual celebration because of the pandemic.
The week is an opportunity for police services to engage the public by promoting safety and the well-being of all community members.
South Simcoe Police (SSPS) Chief Andrew Fletcher told Barrie 360 a virtual police week is a bit of a challenge.
“Police Week is really our chance to engage with the community and share what we do. It’s a little bit tougher to do when we can’t do that in person,” Fletcher noted.
The virtual route will not leave the public feeling shortchanged. The SSPS have a number of events planned throughout the week.
For example, Monday featured an introduction to Cliff Aguiar, who is the first, full-time Crime Analyst at SSPS.
#PoliceWeekProfile: Cliff Aguiar is the first, full-time Crime Analyst at SSPS! In addition to Cliff’s role with us, he’s an instructor @SenecaCollege and the Director of the Ontario Crime Analysis Network.@OACPOfficial #PoliceWeekON #WorkingTogether pic.twitter.com/KCifhQ2kfG— South Simcoe Police (@SouthSimcoePS) May 10, 2021
Fletcher said there will be various profiles including one of the SSPS Emergency Response Unit. The service’s school resource officers will be doing a Facebook Live open house tour on Thursday.
“Normally as part of our police day, which would take place on the Saturday of Police Week, we would do tours of our stations and give people a chance to walk about and see some of the interesting aspects of our buildings,” said Fletcher.
The public will be able to follow along with a SSPS officer via Twitter on Friday.
“One of our officers is going to be out there in the community and hopefully have a virtual ride-along to share some of the real-life experiences that our people go through each day,” added the Chief.
The theme of Police Week this year is “Working Together to Keep our Communities Safe.”
Fletcher said SSPS has always tried to engage with the public to play a key role in keeping communities safe. He said that can be everything from individuals doing their part to not drink and drive and just to help somebody in need.
One big change Fletcher has seen through the pandemic is the public’s role through the use of video surveillance.
“People are home a lot more, so they are capturing more images and they are doing more personal engagement,” said Fletcher.
“It’s a shared effort and a shared responsibility. If we can work together with our communities, it helps us keep them safe.”