Most people don’t realize that I am a former Toronto Police Officer. For three years I was the Crime Analyst, which means I analyzed crime statistics and trends. Also, while I was on the road and attending emergency calls many of these calls centered around the need for more social services to address root causes.
I have heard at the door the comments that people do not feel as safe without the police detachment downtown and that they sometimes don’t even bother calling the police because they think the police would be too far away and the problem would be gone by the time they arrive. There is a general desire to have more police presence in Wilmot but what I haven’t heard is one main reason for this. Topics range from speeding, to noisy neighbours, to graffiti. A greater police presence may reduce these incidents but they don’t address the root causes. If elected as a councilor I would have an interest in speaking with the WR crime analysts to gather multi-year statistics so I can better understand the calls to the police, I would try and gather as many stories as possible, and I would look at what I can do in my role to reduce these incidents from occurring in the first place by working with community partners. Numbers paint one picture but stories from people could paint a totally different one. These stories could be very influential in helping WR police to better understand how our community is feeling, and a community not feeling safe is not a healthy one.
Some history, Waterloo Police Services stopped utilizing their office space in New Hamburg full-time in 2016. From this time until 2019 the detachment was only open for two hours a day, six days a week and in 2019 the detachment was closed.
The New Hamburg and the Wellesley detachments were both closed as part of the Waterloo Region Police Services review of facilities and expenditures. In 2022, Regional councilors (our Regional councilor is our Mayor) voted 11-4 in favour of the police budget of $195.8 million, up $10.5 million from the 2021 police budget of $185.3 million.
The only rural councillor voting against the increase was Sue Foxton, Mayor of the Township of North Dumfries.
The Region of Waterloo helps give guidance to the Waterloo Region Police Service and our mayor is our voice in this forum. Ensuring that our mayor has a full understanding of our concerns and brings them forward is important.
If you would like references for this info please let me know and I can send you the information.