There has been plenty (and necessary) press about police brutality and I think it’s important that we keep clear while also not painting police with one broad brush-stroke.
Being against police brutality doesn’t mean you are against the police.
‘Defund the police’ does not mean that you want police departments to shut down. It means helping police officers do their job reworking budgets and redistributing some funds towards essential social services that are often underfunded, such as housing, education, employment, mental health care, and youth services.
Or incorporating amazing initiatives such as MHEART.
MHEART (Mental Health Engagement and Response Team) is a partnership between CMHA Oxford (Canadian Mental Health Association), Woodstock Police Service, and Oxford OPP.
It’s a mobile response program which also exists across the province in a variety of models and names. The over-arching goal of the program is to provide a joint response to calls related to a situational crisis, a mental health related concern and/or an addictions related concern.
MHEART helps to build positive rapport and a supportive presence between police and community members wile enhancing this team’s ability to respond to complex mental health situations and increases access to community resources across Oxford County.
Another amazing initiative that the Ontario Provincial Police has started is catching kids doing the right thing. What does that mean?
Recently, while riding his bike, my step son had a police car pull up beside him and stop. His first reaction, “Am I in trouble?” The officer replied he was not but that she wanted to praise him for wearing his bicycle helmet properly and rewarded him with two free frosty treats from the local Circle K store.
When I posted his picture with a giant ear-to-ear grin holding his coupons on my social media, the positive response was impressive, as you can imagine. I learned through one person’s comment that while they were out on their boat on the weekend, a police officer on a boat pulled up beside them and gave the children a free T-shirt for wearing their life jackets properly.
In Woodstock, the police and McDonald’s have teamed up to reward and catch kids doing right. In an interview, Community Services Officer Constable Nikki VanLeeuwen said Woodstock Police will be promoting safe bike habits by giving out coupons for ice cream.
“We’re going to be working together, and we’re going to be rewarding youth in the community for following the rules of the road. Specifically wearing their helmets.”
My step son was elated and overjoyed, to say the least. Thank you Oxford OPP.