The Taber Community Action and Prevention Society (TCAPS) is a way to use community engagement for problem-solving. This is a registered society that receives concerns from community agencies and engages the community to develop targeted programs, for example, day camps for high-risk youth, poster competitions addressing drug abuse, and local skateboard park enhancements.Meetings are on a monthly basis with subcommittee work taking place as required. Typically TCAPS responds to the concerns tabled by the various agencies as a result of their work and awareness in the community. Recently the FCSS representative raised concerns over their teen coaching function and lack of funds for programming. TCAPS will assist with funding for a program targetting high-risk youth in the form of day camps dealing with teen and parent mediation.
The objective of TCAPS is to organize and mobilize various community agencies and citizens at large to deal with issues affecting the community such as drug trafficking and youth crime matters.
Operational Commander, Taber Police Service
The Taber Police Service initially took the lead role in organizing TCAPS and currently Inspector Abela sits as the President of the Society. The police role is by direct involvement.
There were social concerns in the community, with an influx of cocaine dealers and increased incidence of addictions and accompanying crime. The fiscal motivation was simply a matter of insufficient capacity to mobilize strategies, inability of police alone to respond with community enhancements. TCAPS provides for a community response.
Considerable police labour was required to develop the vision and mandate, then make the appropriate contacts and host meetings. Meetings were used to gather other points of view and input in creating the concept for TCAPS. Programs are grant-based and rely on a significant base of community volunteers.
Once the idea was solidified the committee began to meet regularly to develop responses to the drug problem. Application was then made for society status. This was a working group from the outset.
The key outcomes are the existence of the Taber Community Against Drugs Committee which organizes community events, sponsors school programs and hosts an annual Wellness Walk. Heightened awareness of the magnitude of the drug problem led to operational success in eliminating major traffickers. The legacy today is the establishment of Drug-Free Zones in town and a robust relationship with the community.TCAPS has a very full agenda with new concerns being raised at each meeting. TCAPS supports a number of ongoing programs on an ongoing basis, including VSU, Taber Community Against Drugs and the Taber Youth Initiative. TCAPS also supports a number of annual events, specifically youth programs and most often summer daycamps.
TCAPS is continually seeking membership through advertising and attendance at events. Sponsorship is available for community projects.
An evaluation is not planned. We have managed to keep ourselves focused and are anxiously engaged in maintaining what we have developed. We do, however, suffer from the growing apathy that has beset most communities in that volunteers are always in short supply, but agency interest has remained high. As a registered society that pursues grants on a continual basis, we seem to constantly be involved in some sort of checks-and-balances project as we report on a variety of grants. Evaluation, however, is an ongoing function with the VSU component of TCAPS. We are likely headed for a review of the original mandate and putting together a go-forward business plan.
The police have functional working relationships with all of the social agencies, educators and businesses in town who have any youth involvement.