Who among us enjoys being pulled over by a police officer? I certainly don’t, and I am one. For most of us, our interaction with the police is limited to receiving a ticket (or two) or perhaps being the victims of property crime. Though neither of these situations is positive, there are times when contact with the police can be much more negative, sad or even devastating. Although these events are rare, senseless acts of violence can hold an entire city hostage, especially when there appears to be no viable solution.
For a society to work well police officers need the trust and cooperation of the local citizens, which is as much a police responsibility as it is the citizenry. But those barriers are very hard to break down, especially in communities that have lost faith in the police or when the residents have come from a country where there never was any trust to begin with.
Inspector Dave Saunders of the Toronto Police Service has come up with a plan to give out “positive tickets” as a way of recognizing the public for good behaviour.
As reported on FLOW radio and in the Metro News, here’s what Inspector Saunders has to say about the program called POSITIVE TICKETING – TAKING A STAND AGAINST VIOLENCE
I am the Inspector of 42 Division Toronto Police in Scarborough, and I have been a police officer for 32 years. At 42 Division we take pride in working with the community to create safer environments to reside, work, play and attend school. Unfortunately a relatively small number of criminals involved in the drug and gun trades prey on our neighbourhoods. Their presence in our neighbourhoods make residents fearful to come forward to police as complainants, witnesses and victims of crime. In my experience the best way for communities to reduce gang dominance in their lives is to start working more closely with the police, social agencies and community leaders. Young people are particularly at risk of becoming involved in violence in Scarborough. I see small positive gestures as making a profound impact on children and youth in communities at risk of violence. I propose a “positive ticketing” program by frontline police officers. This would involve officers giving out coupons, gift cards, etc., to young people who interact with police in positive settings. As simple as this sounds, this idea could have a very positive impact.
Aviva Insurance has an annual one million dollar community fund that is divided up among applicants. Inspector Saunders has made such an application as a way of funding the “positive ticketing” initiative.
If this seems like something you would like to see in our city, or as an example to emulate in other cities (if you don’t live in Toronto), please take 30 seconds and vote for our initiative.
Follow this link: http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf15138 and click on VOTE located just under the title “POSITIVE TICKETING – TAKING A STAND AGAINST VIOLENCE”. Unfortunately, one needs to “sign in” to vote—easy enough if you have a Face Book account but otherwise, you’ll need to create an account. This only takes a few minutes. Just follow the instructions.
Rarely will I ask for support in this way as this is not the focus of this blog. I am cognizant of my recent plea for support over the NBC fiasco—and your response was truly overwhelming—but I think this has great merit for the public. Not only as an officer, but also as the victim of crime, I believe this program could make a difference, and anything that makes life better for people is worth mentioning. I’m hoping you’ll all feel the same way.
As always, with gratitude,