In an announcement today, the province is investing $195 million in a new Community Safety and Policing Grant Program through the local priorities funding stream over the next three years.
The majority of the funding, $181 million, will be allocated to 89 police service boards to address issues identified by their communities as local areas of focus. These include collaboration between the police and community organizations to help individuals suffering from mental health issues and addictions (e.g., mobile crisis response teams), as well as programs to combat impaired driving, property crime and other public safety concerns. In addition, approximately $14 million will be allocated to 18 police services boards under the provincial priorities funding stream to address gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment, and human trafficking.
Under the program, the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Board will be provided with $2,070,000 to be used towards a Community Mobilization Unit – Community Crisis Response Team (CCRT), Community Safety Officers (CSO) and Community Oriented Response and Enforcement (CORE). The Community Mobilization Unit works in partnership with the community and other services to address the root causes of crime, share information, intervene early to reduce victimization and build community capacity. To achieve this goal, the unit relies on a dedicated team of community safety officers dispatched across schools, community hubs, various intervention teams (CCRT, CSO and CORE) as well as the Neighbourhood Resource Centre.
“We are grateful that the Ontario government recognizes the need to fund and support public safety here in Waterloo Region,” said Bryan Larkin, Chief of Police for the Waterloo Regional Police Service. “This funding will allow us to continue combating violent crime in our community and allow us to ensure the individuals responsible are brought to justice.”
This investment builds on the $105.4 million both the provincial and federal governments have invested to date to combat gun and gang violence across the province through the Ontario Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy.