PROTECTING OUR CITIZENS
Policing today requires a concerted effort to ensure the protection of all citizens, giving specific attention to vulnerable groups in our communities. In 2000, the York Regional Police proudly served its many communities through the efforts of 909 officers and 209 civilian members, and through the delivery of community-based policing, investigative and specialized services in each of five police districts. This outstanding service was offered to residents at a cost per capita ranked the lowest among major southern Ontario police services.
Despite an increase of 40,000 new residents in 2000, York Region remained one of the safest communities in Canada. York Regional Police proactively responded to the unique issues and changing trends of this rapidly growing population by developing new programs and initiatives. The year-round deployment of the Air Support Unit increased support to front-line officers by decreasing response times and covering the area of an incident. And the acquisition of a custom-designed, state-of-the-art R.I.D.E. van (Reducing Impaired Driving Everywhere) enhanced continued efforts against impaired driving, and is the only purpose-built van in the Province.
A modern and expanded 3 District Headquarters was opened in 2000 to meet current and future needs of the fast-growing communities of Keswick and Sutton. Another opening was the Community Policing Centre in Stouffville, staffed by community volunteers, supported by Auxiliary and area officers, and created to provide information on community services and crime prevention, including Road Watch and Neighbourhood Watch.
York Regional Police operated several specialized units to enhance police services, including the Emergency Response Unit which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2000. A new unit, the Major Fraud Unit, was launched to deal with the increasing number and complexity of frauds, and to comply with the Province's Adequacy and Effectiveness Standards Regulation. The Canine Unit continued its specialized policing through the use of trained Police Service Dogs.
York Regional Police continued to interact with all York Region citizens to maintain communication and promote safe communities. The Chief's Community Council was formed to promote and foster harmony, dialogue and understanding between all members of the York Regional Police and the communities they serve. Comprised of 25 residents or stakeholders representing ethno-cultural, geographical and age diversity, this advisory group advised the Chief on community issues including race relations, perceptions of social inequality and specialized programs.
Community Services and officers in District Community Oriented Response units also played an important role in the education of the Region's youngest citizens. The VIP (Values Influences and Peers) program was offered to 6,000 grade six students in both York Region school boards. Other programs included the Put the Brakes on Bullying one-day symposium, the internet safety program Safe Surfing, and the School Safety Patrol. Additionally, one officer was assigned to each district as a community Crime Prevention Officer.
2000 SPRING GAMES
A tremendous highlight of last year was the Ontario Special Olympics 2000 Spring Games. York Regional Police welcomed 900 athletes and coaches from across Ontario to compete in a variety of sports through several Regional venues. During the competition, the athletes displayed the true spirit of the Special Olympics oath, "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."