Thursday, July 18, 2024

Smiths Falls, Lanark County police receive over $385,000 in crime prevention grants

Pictured left to right: Constable Sean Keogan, Community Services Officer for Smiths Falls Police, Jennifer Miller, ED of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lanark County, Rachel Burns, ED of RNJ Youth Services and Staff Sergeant Nadine Wilson, Smiths Falls Police Service. – Submitted photo

Smiths Falls and Lanark County recently received just over $385,000 in crime prevention initiatives from the Ontario government. The funds will be used to support community safety projects by the Smiths Falls Police Service and Lanark County OPP.

“The collaboration between the Smiths Falls Police Service, Lanark County OPP, our schools and local youth organizations is important in educating our youth and building a positive relationship and respect for law enforcement,” said MPP John Jordan, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. “This government will continue to support these initiatives to keep our youth safe and our communities thriving.”

A media release from Jordan’s office states that since 2018, Ontario has invested more than $16 million in crime prevention initiatives across the province through the Proceeds of Crime Front-Line Policing (POC-FLP) Grant program.

“We’re using every tool including cash and proceeds seized from criminals to prevent crime and protect our communities,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “Thanks to the hard work of our men and women in uniform, these funds are being reinvested back into communities to help support victims, educate youth and increase awareness about crimes such as gang violence and hate.”

The Smiths Falls Police Service received a grant of $85,500, to be distributed over the next three years.

“We recognize as a police service and with our community partners that positive interaction, education and engaging with our youth continues to be an important tool in the Prevention of Crime,” said Acting Chief of the Smiths Falls Police Service, Jodi Empey.

“Our youth are engaging more and more online and at a younger age,” Empey continued. “With the success of receiving the Proceeds of Crime Grant from the provincial government, we will be working in collaboration and partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Lanark County, their WAK program and RNJ youth services to deliver education in Crime Prevention for our youth.”

Empey explained that some of the topics that will be covered will include education around child abuse and exploitation especially online safety, sharing of intimate images, healthy relationships and intimate partner violence.  

Lanark County OPP received $300,000 over the same three-year period.

“Creating Safer Spaces Lanark brings partners together to work toward increased understanding, safety and inclusivity in our schools and community,” said Lanark County OPP Detachment Commander Insp. Karuna Padiachi. “This is especially important as we see evidence of a rising number of hate-motivated crime incidents.”

The project will increase opportunities for Lanark OPP to provide more outreach to students and the community in partnership with the Upper Canada District School Board and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, as well as with the Lanark Detachment Community Liaison Committee. Funds for Planet Youth Lanark County through Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth will help to provide coordination support for engagement activities with youth and the community.

There is also funding for police training related to hate crimes and equity, diversity and inclusion. The project aligns with activities undertaken in the Community Safety and Well-being Plan for Lanark County and Smiths Falls.

“Prevention and education activities by police and community partners that are informed by young people and under-represented populations are a key part of the work to create safer spaces,” Padiachi added.

To date, the POC-FLP Grant program has funded 281 community safety projects across the province.

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