The Surrey RCMP and Mayor Linda Hepner recently introduced a Response Plan to combat homelessness, crime and drug addiction on The Strip.
This infamous area of Whalley has been scrutinized for many years and it would be safe to call this Response Plan good news.
The Outreach Team consisting of 12 RCMP members, four bylaw officers and social service workers will be providing 24/7 presence out of a satellite office.
Although some scrutiny has already embarked regarding this strategy, it is important to understand just how much of an impact mere law enforcement presence has.
As an aspiring law enforcement officer, I have gained a great deal of inside tips from current and retired officials.
One of these tips is the National Use of Force Framework. The first two options on the model are presence and communication.
Needless to say, as the levels progress, so do the lethality of options.
That being said, this Response Plan intends to use those two options to build relationships and connect with the vulnerable individuals in the area.
It is also crucial to educate ourselves about the role police officers play in the community. Yes, they are commended for “catching bad guys” and enforcing the law, but very rarely is the public aware of the many other hats they wear.
They support those in need, they must resolve conflict, they are social workers, councilors and youth mentors when needed. Successful or not, this Response Plan is a progression towards community policing.
The existing homelessness, crime and drug addiction on 135A Street is a sensitive issue and the stigma surrounding it is endless.
Rather than marginalizing those who are a part of it, it should be seen as an opportunity to appreciate those who go beyond the expectations of duty to make sure every member of the community is attended to.