The Ontario government is investing more than $9.3 million in local policing to help services better “protect their local communities.”
The Windsor, Essex, LaSalle and Chatham-Kent police services boards have each received grants for safety initiatives through the province’s Community Safety and Policing Grants program.
“Community safety is a top priority, and our government has strengthened our justice system to protect communities and hold offenders accountable,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a news release. “This investment is another way to help police services address local challenges and improve the well-being of the people they serve. Whether it’s fighting the opioid crisis, sharing information or preventing violent crime, this funding will make a difference in every corner of Ontario.
The program has helped fund more than 147 projects across the province focus on local and provincial priorities, including gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, mental health and addictions, and hate crimes.
The Windsor Police Service Board received over $5.3 million for the following initiatives:
Outreach and Community Support Team, Situation Table and Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team – $1,489,629: The funding will help the Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) Windsor Situation Table and the Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (MCRRT) work together to provide support to people struggling with mental health and addiction issues related to the crisis (or at risk of facing it) and connecting individuals to appropriate resources.
Problem Based Policing Unit – $3,837,684: The Windsor Police Service will use the funding to enhance its Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) unit which focuses on crime prevention, law enforcement, provides assistance to victims of crime, maintaining law and order, emergency response and helps facilitate referrals to various health/social programs.
The Chatham-Kent Police Services Board received $2,079,731 for the following project:
Community Mobilization Section – $2,079,731: Funds will be used to build capacity and support the work of the Community Mobilization Section of the Chatham-Kent Police Service, a program that promotes a holistic approach to community safety. The team works with several community organizations to address social issues in the community.
The Essex Police Services Board received $1,250,649 for its Crisis Response Initiative:
Mobile Rapid Response Crisis Team and Mental Health Response Unit and Youth Rapid Crisis Response – $1,250,649: This is an existing co-policing model with the Essex County OPP that encompasses its response to the crisis. The Mental Health Crisis Team responds to calls from people suspected of having mental health issues, addictions and other crises. Their experiences and upbringing help defuse situations using advanced professional training, an understanding of mental health, and expertise in dealing with traumatic events.
The LaSalle Police Service Commission received $674,388 for the following initiatives:
Community Outreach and Support Team Officer – $337,500: Funding will help LaSalle Police continue their critical mental health support initiative. The new Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) will include an experienced police officer paired with a trained community emergency social worker from Hotel Dieu Grace Health Care to conduct in-home assessments and assist those with issues chronic and persistent mental illnesses, those who are victims and those who have frequent contact with the police and hospitals.
Traffic Enforcement Unit Coordinator – $336,888: The funding will help equip the LaSalle Police Service Traffic Control Unit with tools and resources to enable the deployment of frontline officers when and where they are most needed to support traffic management and road safety.
The investment will be spread over a three-year period: 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25. In addition to community safety initiatives, the province has invested in a number of policing projects across the province, all of which can be viewed on Government of Ontario website.