The 71 sworn and nine civilian members of Community Services are responsible for building partnerships and engaging citizens in the community through innovative outreach programs, crime prevention initiatives and volunteer opportunities. Community Services is comprised of the Community Support, Community Partnership and Community Mobilization Bureaus.
Community Support Bureau
The Community Support Bureau focuses on building community partnerships, supporting and empowering vulnerable persons and capitalizing on the spirit of volunteerism to make a positive impact on the community. Community programs include Project Lifesaver, a program that uses state-of-the-art technology to locate lost or missing vulnerable people.
The York Regional Police Seniors Safety Officer is dedicated to educating and supporting our growing seniors population and delivers dozens of safety and crime prevention presentations every year. Cases of suspected elder abuse are reviewed by the Seniors Safety Officer who then reaches out to seniors' organizations and community groups to recommend follow-up care and additional support when necessary.
2011 marked the completion of the Integrated Domestic Violence Unit's first year and the results have been impressive. Partnerships with community agencies such as Victim Services of York Region and local shelters have strengthened our common goal of holistically supporting victims of domestic violence. Since the inception of IDVU, more cases have been identified as high-risk domestic incidents, leading to improved offender management, victim safety strategies and successful prosecutions in court. This is a significant accomplishment as we move ahead in an integrated fashion to better support victims of domestic violence.
Community Partnership Bureau
Establishing and maintaining partnerships with the community are an integral part of our vision and values. More than 200 volunteers and auxiliary officers are highly visible in the community at parades, fairs and other community events. Auxiliary officers are also trained to assist in emergency situations such as natural disasters and searches for missing persons or evidence. The Auxiliary Unit celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011. To commemorate the anniversary, auxiliary officers were presented with Challenge Coins marking this momentous occasion.
One of our most popular community programs is the Citizens Academy. The Citizens Academy is a community education initiative designed to provide the public with working knowledge of York Regional Police and the opportunity to discuss key safety issues.
In addition to our community events and volunteers, the Community Partnership Bureau also includes our Mental Health Resources Unit. The unit allows us to offer a coordinated response to individuals in crisis. Working with community crisis workers and hospital staff, the team works to increase awareness of mental health issues and decrease the likelihood of hospitalization and/or apprehension of mentally ill individuals.
Community Mobilization Bureau
With a two-pronged focus on crime prevention and youth partnerships, the Community Mobilization Bureau includes the Community Safety Village and the Crime Prevention and Youth Programs units.
The Crime Prevention Unit includes Guns and Gangs Prevention and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Program. Guns and Gangs Prevention is tasked with bringing to life the award-winning York Region Gangs and Guns and Youth Violence Strategy focused on reducing violence through proactive education and enforcement, while CPTED officers educate local business owners and the public on how to reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime through the safer design of buildings and landscapes.
In 2011 the Community Mobilization Bureau hosted its 1st Annual Youth Empowerment Summit at the Community Safety Village. The summit provided youth with tools to help them avoid negative influences in their enviornment and to be a positive influence instead. The summit aimed to equip young people with valuable tools and lessons to prosper as successful adults.