It was once a victim of the budgetary cut in Saint John, but community policing has returned to the port city.
The model will now be referred to as Community Based Crime Reduction, with officers working as a team with a more focused service.
“The focus becomes when they’re asked to do lots of things, and when they’re asked to do those things they can look at it through the lens of, ‘Is this an opportunity to reduce crime, or is this something that maybe isn’t going to have an impact on crime reduction?'” said Jennifer Carhart, chair of the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners.
WATCH: Saint John neighbourhood groups make plea for return of community policing
That difference had to be explained in some communities, where residents felt they weren’t getting enough support.
“It’s a community-based crime reduction, not specific to specific communities where folks would have access to support at any given time,” Carhart explained.
Budget cuts earlier this year resulted in community police officers being pulled from the streets. Public backlash and an infusion of cash from the province led the police department to re-examine the situation and put officers back into the communities.
“People are coming through the door every day,” said Anne Driscoll of the Crescent Valley Resource Centre, in the city’s north end. “They’re absolutely happy.”
Sgt. David Hartley-Brown has been involved in community policing for years. He says the relationships within the communities remains critical.
“More or less over the last 10 years, it’s still becomes the emphasis of everything we’re trying to do and to address all the other social issues and criminal activity, and things that have been going on in certain trends,” said Hartley-Brown, who co-ordinates the Community Based Crime Reduction initiative.
“We have to start with our partnerships.”
The new model has been in place for several weeks.