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Puslinch Community Oriented Policing committee folds

by Mike Robinson

ABERFOYLE - The Community Oriented Policing (COP) committee here is folding.

Councillors were made aware of the situation on Nov. 1 via a letter by COP committee chair Glenna Smith.

Smith’s letter, dated Oct. 18, states the “committee as it now exists is about to disband.”

She noted the committee started many years ago and has accomplished many things for the township over the years.

“We have had the same aim which is to inform people of all ages of safety issues that affect us all, in the hope that public awareness will lead to a better and safer quality of life for everyone in Puslinch and area,” Smith wrote.

The committee’s purpose and goals included:

- liaising between the public and police;

- listening and acting on safety concerns and suggestions from residents;

- offering education on relevant safety concerns;

 - running a successful Road Watch program in the township (started in 2010);

- maintaining the Vial of Life program;

- supporting the three main priorities of Safe Communities Wellington County: fall prevention, intentional self harm and motor vehicle accidents; and

- supporting mental health programs.

“In the last few years, there has been a lack of concern and interest in the community by all players so all efforts fall on closed ears,” wrote Smith.

“Council and OPP support and communication has waned to almost nothing over the years.”

She added, “It seems that items that should come to the COP committee, if only by way of communication, are not shared. Three recent examples being a concern on Gilmour Road, a letter to Don Creed not even acknowledged and a letter dated Oct. 6 re: Road Watch Program.”

Smith considered the last item “a big disappointment to our committee and a perfect example of no one taking the time to learn of the history behind programs such as Road Watch.”

She explained the local COP Committee implemented the Road Watch Program and she questioned why the group was not informed of the change.

She pointed out it was the members of the COP committee who raised the money for the Road Watch signs - all the township did was put them up.

As such, she asked “how can you decide to take them down?”

She added the Road Watch letter did not say the program was finished.

Smith said at this point “most of the members of the COP Committee are not willing to try to keep this committee functioning.”

She noted that when the COP committee folds, Puslinch will have no representative at Safe Communities Wellington County.

However, Smith said she continues to work with OPP Constable Jennifer Tschanz and Aberfoyle Public School on an event on human trafficking.

“Constable Tschanz has indicated this type of event should be held as the 401 corridor is a perfect place for this activity. Hopefully this will happen early in the New Year. That will be our final event. We will meet [until] December/January to finish any outstanding business.”

Councillor Matthew Bulmer stated, “This is unfortunate that they have made this decision. We can tell there is disappointment in the tone of the letter.”

Bulmer agreed committee members had put much time and effort into their work and the programs. He asked the township to send thank you letters to all those who had served on the committee.

Bulmer noted there have been considerable changes within the community since the committee’s inception.

He noted the idea of the COP committee first came about in 2000.

Bulmer added Doug and Glenna Smith have been part of the committee since the beginning.

“They recognize times have changed with Facebook and the internet. As we’ve seen with the Road Watch program some things come and go.” He said there are now different ways to get information to the police.

“It’s a sad letter. But I commend them for all the work they have done,” said Bulmer.

Councillor Susan Fielding agreed the COP committee has done outstanding work over the years, noting,  “They had a real impact in the community bringing issues to light.”

Councillor Ken Roth agreed “they’ve done a lot of great work in the past.”

Lever supported the idea of a letter as well.

 

November 10, 2017

 
 

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