Belleville Police Headquarters was the backdrop for provincial funding announcements in the Bay of Quinte region on Tuesday.
The funding will directly impact two projects specific to Belleville.
“The first one is $343,600 to support front-line community stakeholder training, and then there’s $271,800 that’s going to support the hiring of a Victim Liaison Officer in the area,” says Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith.
Belleville Police Chief Mike Callaghan says the funding will have a significant impact on police service moving forward.
“Victim Liaison Officer is a game changer,” says Callaghan. “What we want to be able to do is to be able to support the victim, right from the very beginning…And this grant is going to provide us with that opportunity to make a significant difference in the community.”
“We believe that the difference is going to be unbelievable,” Callaghan continues.
West of Belleville, Smith held a second news conference at Quinte West OPP to announce similar community safety funding, alongside a renewal of funding for the Integrated Mobile Police and Co-Response Team (IMPACT) program.
The provincial government is providing $1,680,000 in base funding to “extend and expand” the Addictions and Mental Health Services Hastings Prince Edward (AMHS-HPE) IMPACT program.
Smith says he hopes funding these programs will prevent people from falling through the cracks.
“We know we still have a long way to go when it comes to mental health and getting people the supports that they need, it seems that the problem continues to grow,” says Smith.
“To have that link actually located in the OPP station or here at Belleville Police Service, able to go out and answer those calls and take those people to the hospital or the appropriate place to get the care that they need, is so, so important.”
The provincial funding announced on Tuesday by Smith totals more than $2.7 million invested into community safety initiatives across the Bay of Quinte region.