By RON FANFAIR
Toronto Police Service (TPS) Chief William Blair has commended his officers for working to establish relationships of respect, cooperation and trust with the communities they are assigned to serve and protect.
“When they go out, they talk to people in the communities, they build partnerships and they earn people’s trust each and every day,” Blair said at the organization’s Police Week launch last Monday. “I believe it is that partnership, that relationship between Torontonians and their police service which is the secret to our liveability and safety.”
Police Week, observed in May for the past 30 years, is an annual event dedicated to promoting crime prevention, recognition and awareness of police services across Canada.
This year’s theme is “Building Partnerships for a Safer Community.”
“The theme clearly captures the philosophy of our Board,” said TPS board member and city councillor Frank DiGiorgio. “Effective policing is truly a partnership between the police and the community it serves. The collaboration between law enforcement personnel and members of our community is the key to dealing with complex challenges that we all face.”
Mayor David Miller acknowledged Blair for his leadership.
“We see today a city that is increasingly safer and that safety and decrease in violence is directly due to the philosophy of this police service that is building partnerships in every neighbourhood with every community,” he said.
In her keynote address, CTV reporter Galit Solomon emotionally addressed a personal crime she encountered just two weeks before her family migrated from Israel to Canada in 1988.
Just 12 years old at the time, Solomon was sexually assaulted by a 44-year-old man who was the father of one of her friends.
“Recently, I made a call to 32 Division and for the first time, it wasn’t a phone call about crime statistics or a murder,” she said. “It was a phone call about a sexual assault that happened to me in a different country. The assault was very personal to me because after 22 years, I was able to gather up the courage and come forward and report the man who assaulted me.
“What he did to me that day was violent and cruel and it left behind a lot of mess for me to clean up. It took me a long time to speak about it because there was so much pain and guilt affiliated with what had happened.”
A few years ago, Solomon created “Project Butterflies”, a website that provides information and support for sexual abuse survivors.