Cobourg Police recently released their updated Strategic Plan – and it includes a fresh summary of major public concerns: 1. Drugs (prevention, support, enforcement) 2. Mental Health 3. Community Involvement 4. Homelessness 5. Traffic Enforcement. It’s significant that Mental Health is now near the top of the list for concerns and Homelessness is on the list. Many calls to Police are really calls for help for people with these issues and not crimes so Police are changing what they do. Yesterday, MPP David Piccini announced that the Province is providing $860K in funding over 3 years to help Cobourg Police with programs aimed at Mental Health and Homelessness. Now supported are the Homelessness Addictions Response Project (HARP – $410K), a new program called Youth Mental Health Engagement and Response Team (M-Heart) and also for the integration of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion principles into day to day policing ($449K).
The Police announcement says that the funding will allow Police to:
- Strengthen collaborative community approaches in addressing challenges facing our community.
- Respond to the growing mental health and wellness needs of the community.
- Increase the number of new partnerships between the police and other industry sector experts.
- Enhance integration of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion principles through policies, training programs, and hiring practices.
Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf said: “The impact of drugs, homelessness and mental health in our community have emerged as key priorities,” and the grants “… will better prepare us to maintain capacity, strengthen collaborative community approaches, and tackle new and emerging challenges through HARP and the new youth M-HEART initiative.”
The announcement took place at 8:30 am May 2 on King Street outside the Police Station.
Below is a photo of key people at the announcement.
L to R – Deputy Chief Jeff Haskins, Mayor John Henderson, Staff Sergeant Janice MacDonald (developed and championed HARP), CPSB Chair Dean Pepper, CAO Roger Ramkissoon, Youth Counsellor Kally Mitchell (FourCAST – joins M-HEART team), Amy Eriksson M-HEART Social Worker, Constable Cindy Reeves (Community Resource Officer), Constable Brent Sedgwick (M-HEART), Chief Paul VandeGraaf, Minister David Piccini.
- Cobourg Police Strategic Plan 2022-2025 – hosted on Cobourg Police Web site
- Extract from 2021 Annual Report describing HARP and M-Heart (4 pages pdf)
- Report on Cobourg News Blog about Police 2021 report – 17 March 2022 – includes link to full report
- Video of announcement on You-Tube – Link to Police You-Tube