How much influence do students have on regional police’s strategic plan?

The University of Waterloo has received an invitation from the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) for July 14 to discuss their upcoming strategic plan.

“The strategic plan is a guiding document on how they’re going to deliver police services to the community for the next three years,” said Dan Anderson, director of the University of Waterloo Police Service (UWPS).

Typically, the regional police service will reach out to the different stakeholders in the community, and the university is a “unique stakeholder” within the community, Anderson added.

Some of the questions the WRPS are seeking input from UW on are what’s happening in student areas, what trends are being seen, and how students and the police can work together to address any issues.

Anderson described the process as “consultative,” in creating the guiding document for the way WRPS delivers their services over the next three years.

Anderson emphasized the close relationship between UWPS and WRPS when talking about the impact he believes UW has on the construction of the strategic plan.

“I think [WRPS is] doing everything we’re hoping they would do. And I think we’re doing much of what they hope we would do in trying to address crime,” Anderson said. “As far as the enforcement part, between the University of Waterloo campus police we’re in touch so often that we don’t let issues arise. We address them as soon as they come up.”

He pointed at the success of St. Patrick’s Day festivities as an example of the UWPS and WRPS close co-operation.

When it comes to seeking student input, the WRPS has pushed back the meeting with student stakeholders to late August because many of the interested parties will not be around during the summer.   It is not clear who will represent UW.

“We want input from everybody in the community. The students are obviously a large part of the community that we police up here in North Division,” said North Division Inspector Doug Thiel.

“Our business plan is made up of nine different pillars, and one of those pillars is youth,” Erin Vandhal, research analyst planner with WRPS, said regarding how student consultation will affect the plan.

“We definitely value the student feedback as much as we value the seniors feedback,” Vandhal said.

Vandhal said that the WRPS’ goal in listening to different focus groups is to make sure “everybody has an equal voice.” They want to hear from different demographics that they haven’t been able to hear from in surveys and public consoltations they have conducted in the past.

“I think it’s really good that the students are involved in this, if they’re part of a consultative group,” Anderson said.


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