||The Community Support Program is a group of civilian community support officers (four officers and one supervisor) who walk the beat and patrol three Business Improvement Districts in the centre of Saskatoon. Their main role is to address negative street activity and work with service providers to address individual issues such as homelessness, addictions and mental health issues. They have been designated by the City of Saskatoon as enforcement officers for bylaws on panhandling, parks, street use, skateboarding and bicycles. This program is running as a two-year pilot project and has been in place since August 2012.
Saskatoon City Council has set up the Street Activity Steering Committee to oversee the program. The committee includes representatives from three Business Improvement Districts, the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition, the Saskatoon Police Service and a City of Saskatoon neighborhood safety planner. The program works closely with a group of local service providers.
||The Community Support Program has several objectives:
- provide additional uniform presence and improve the perception of safety in Saskatoon;
- interact with the community and develop positive relationships with citizens and businesses in the patrol area;
- interact and build trusting relationships with persons who cause negative street activity and try to assist in addressing the issues faced by these persons;
- work with service providers to provide supports to people in need and address the root causes of negative street activity (e.g., addictions, homelessness, health, mental health, etc.);
- identify gaps in services; and
- work on strategies to assist persons in need, thereby reducing police calls for nuisance and non-crime-related issues.
||Although this initiative is in its early stages, the initial response from the community has been very positive. The Community Support Program has begun to deal with calls regarding non-criminal issues, diverting those calls away from the police. A follow-up “street activity study” is planned.
||Funding for this initiative is provided by the City of Saskatoon from parking meter revenue generated in the three Business Improvement Districts taking part in the project. First-year expenses and start-up costs were an estimated $415,000. Second-year expenses are estimated at $355,000.
|Record Entry Date: