On Tuesday, a report is coming to Penticton council that outlines actions being implemented in 2023 to enhance public safety.
“The leaders of each of our protective services departments carefully considered the findings of the Community Safety Resource Review in identifying these initiatives and have put together a solid road map for moving forward,” said Anthony Haddad, the city’s general manager of community services.
The city will look to hire two new officers this year who will work on a Community Safety Enforcement team and enhance visibility in the community.
Staff will work with council to look at building an ongoing dialogue and working relationship between the City and Crown Counsel.
Council will be considering three initiatives to increase Bylaw and Community Safety Officer authority. The initiatives include a new bylaw that addresses the inappropriate use of public places, a bylaw that designates bylaw officers as Peace Officers and a policy that outlines the use of force for bylaw and CSOs. These initiatives provide front line support for unsafe and unhealthy activities that occur in our public spaces.
Bylaw will also be targeting hot spots using calls for service data from locations of high call volume; ultimately reducing public exposure time to social nuisance issues.
As directed by council, staff are in the process of preparing a Strategic Land Assessment for municipally-owned land that can be used for affordable housing projects in the future.
“In the short term we will endeavor to highlight what gaps exist and for the long term benefit of our community, succeed at filling them. Staff will report to council outlining the progress made on the initiatives underway. These reports will also be supplemented by regular updates from the RCMP and other departments when required and new initiatives emerge,” said the report to council.
City council will continue to lobby for a Car 40 and PACT program into Penticton because more than half of police calls are for mental health.
Penticton has been pushing for the Car 40 program for more than a year. The program pairs an officer with a mental health expert to go out to mental health crisis calls. Interior Health recently announced the expansion of Car 40 in Kamloops and Kelowna but Penticton was notably left out.
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