Citizens working with the Belleville Police Service are really important to what they do.
That was the main message those in attendance at the first of two Talk with the Chiefs events took away from the evening.
Police Chief Ron Gignac started the evening by stating only about 3% of what the Belleville Police Service does is reported as most of it is behind the scenes.
He said the night was to help demystify what the service does.
Overall, he felt the night was quite successful.
Questions asked included how the Belleville Police Service was going to deal with the legalization of marijuana on July 1 as well as how Gignac plans to make the city the safest community in Ontario.
Gignac told the crowd citizen input is really important to what they do.
When it comes to the legalization of marijuana he admits there will be growing pains but they will be prepared.
Gignac says the first of their officers will begin getting training on field sobriety testing in February.
Another one of their big priorities is making the city’s roads safer.
Gignac says this is the thing that changes people’s lives the most.
In Beleville’s Thurlow Ward alone, he said there were just under 2,500 traffic offense charges laid last year.
Deputy Chief Mike Callaghan says the number one killer is speed and they need to make sure they are doing something about it.
The Chief and officers said their Automated Licence Plate Recognition System (ALPS) has been quite helpful to increase crime prevention in Belleville.
In the first 44 days, the Police Service saw $110,000 in revenues in fines from using this system.
He says the system also allows officers to be aware if a specific licence plate is flagged to a driver who is wanted by police. It could be a licence linked to human trafficking, drug trafficking or another criminal offense.
Gignac announced they have a second ALPS coming and by they end of the year they will have three ALPS devices in use.
He says that is how they will work to make Belleville the safest community in Ontario.
“The word is already out there,” says Gignac. “We’ll pick you off if you’re here. That’s how we achieve becoming the safest community.”
There will be a second Talk with the Chief’s night on Thursday, February 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Parkdale Community Centre in Belleville.