Like most urban Canadian centres, Regina is diverse. At times, our differences can manifest themselves as strengths; at other times, as challenges; sometimes, as both. The business of delivering quality police service to our community has many facets and we are constantly striving to alleviate need while upholding laws and participating in a system of due process. We must also help build community capacity in a way that is respectful of, and collaborates with, the work of our partners, while remaining within our resources. This year has many highlights to celebrate.
In 2010, the Regina Police Service continued its long-standing commitment to education on cultural diversity. Since 1983, the Regina Police Service has had a Cultural Relations Unit, now known as the Cultural Relations and Community Diversity Unit. What started as the work of individuals within the Police Service – building bridges between communities - has become the responsibility of all our employees. In November, 2010, all RPS personnel, sworn and civilian, attended two days of diversity training, with emphasis on Islamic, Ukrainian, Nigerian and First Nations' cultures.
We conducted our sixth annual Treaty Four Citizens' Police Academy in May. Treaty Four CPA is a two-week training program that gives young First Nations and Aboriginal people a chance to learn about police work first-hand.
Building on the success of the Citizens' Police Academy model, in September, we created and hosted our first one-day Media Police Academy as a way of introducing local reporters to the many specialized units in our Service.
Recognizing that we need to work with the citizens of Regina to set priorities, our Police Service hosted a full-day planning session in May, with one hundred community stakeholders, to help develop and set out our 2011-2014 Strategic Plan.
Regina's rate of reported crime was lower in 2010 than the year before (an 8% decrease); in fact, our city's crime rate is the lowest it has been since 1991. In spite of this progress, the reductions weren't enough to move us out of the position of having the highest crime rate in the country. We remain committed to working diligently on crime and the issues that drive crime.
In March, we relocated one of our community police service centres to the Old Fire Hall on 11th Avenue in the Heritage neighbourhood. The move was the result of analysis of crime data, consultation with the community and the availability of space in the heart of the Heritage neighbourhood. The centre offers an environment that is more conducive to the community policing approach: one where community interaction and support can help to make timely interventions, control crime and reduce fear of crime.
Among our front-line efforts - our Community Services members (uniformed officers) conducted 2,284 neighbourhood checks and 2,769 business contacts. Our "beat" patrol was active for 2,619 beat hours and 655 bike hours. In the summer months we carried out 2,190 park checks and 1,537 school ground checks.
In 2010, we honoured a long-time employee and friend of the Regina Police Service with a Chief's Commendation. Mr. Don Miles joined the Regina Police Service in September 1952 and worked the Beat, Traffic and Criminal Investigations before leaving to become an ordained minister in 1969. When he retired from the ministry, Don came back to us as our first volunteer chaplain in the early 1990's. For many years, Don has blessed us, both figuratively and literally, with his guidance, gentle words and presence.
We like to keep in touch with our extended family: retirees and former employees. In May, we hosted our first Veterans Appreciation Luncheon and welcomed 80 of our former employees. It was a great opportunity to renew old friendships.
Christmas gave us an opportunity to help less fortunate families in a very direct and practical way. We placed a "Tree of Warmth" in the lobby of the Police Headquarters building and invited our employees to decorate it with scarves, mitts and hats that were donated to families in need. Giving has benefits for the giver, too. We want to make the "Tree of Warmth" an RPS Christmas tradition.
Protecting life and property, upholding the law and building community capacity are responsibilities that require commitment, versatility and persistence. The men and women of the Regina Police Service demonstrate those attributes daily and carry out their duties with care and pride. I extend my thanks to our uniformed and civilian employees for their dedication; to the Board of Police Commissioners for its governance; and to the citizens of Regina for their support, co-operation and trust.
Chief of Police