As COVID-19 numbers continued to lower during the first two-thirds of the quarter, VicPD began to be able to return to more in-person engagement. While online engagements continued with the final two sessions of the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee sessions with BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ community members on the future of stronger police-community relationships, officers, staff and volunteers were thankful to return to making in-person connections.
The Tour de Rock returned in a modified format, raising over $500,000 for kids with cancer. VicPD and Restorative Justice Victoria celebrated Restorative Justice Week by centering the voices of restorative justice participants- both victims and offenders. Officers took to the roads in partnership with ICBC to help keep roads safe from impaired drivers.
VicPD also partnered with the Victoria Humane Society Animal Rescue for a “puppy visit” that saw frontline officers able to cuddle with puppies up for adoption while photos featuring the loveably pups were taken. This offered officers an opportunity to take a few moments to pause, decompress, and take a short mental health break. After images of the officers and the puppies were posted online, all of the puppies were adopted into loving homes.
Remembrance Day saw Chief Manak and Deputy Chief Laidman lay a wreath of remembrance in VicPD’s Hall of Honour and at the Esquimalt Cenotaph, as we honoured both VicPD veterans and all those who have served to help protect Canada.
The holiday season saw a joyful return to in-person parades in both Victoria and Esquimalt. The Peninsula Co-op Truck Lights Parade and the Esquimalt Celebration of Lights parade saw VicPD Reserves, volunteers, vehicles, officers, staff and Chief Manak all sharing the holiday spirit with citizens on the streets of the City of Victoria and the Township of Esquimalt.
At the close of the quarter, traffic safety became the focus as winter weather meant nearly two weeks of winter driving conditions in the region. The rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 at the end of the quarter unfortunately meant a retreat from in-person engagements, a pause on volunteer shifts and the temporary closure of the front counters.
VicPD Block Watch update
There are 177 active groups in the VicPD Block Watch program, 138 of these groups are in Victoria.
The 2021 launch of the VicPD Block Watch program in the Downtown Victoria neighbourhood has not been as successful as we hoped. Despite receiving numerous inquiries from prospective businesses and residences, only one new group in the Downtown neighbourhood has signed up.
We are currently in an active recruiting campaign for participants to sign up from Victoria. Since October 2021, VicPD volunteers have been out delivering brochures to the homes of inactive Block Watch groups in an effort to re-instate them into the program.
Once pandemic restrictions are lifted and our volunteer programs are up and running again, our volunteers will continue with this recruiting campaign. To date, the brochures have been well received, resulting in positive feedback and program inquiries. To that effect, we have already begun the application process for some new groups. Therefore, we are anticipating an increase in program participation for 2022.
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