Sanitation engineers in West Vancouver are helping the police to fight crime
A number of years ago, the previous Vancouver council endorsed something called Project Civil City. As part of that initiative, the City was considering the possibility of fighting crime with the cooperation of non-police city employees. The concept was rather simple. Use the various by-law officers, garbage workers, street cleaners etc...as an extra set of eyes and ears for the police. If a crime is committed, the police could then immediately send some key details to various city workers in the hope they might see someone suspicious and call it in to police.
When Vision Vancouver cancelled Project Civil City, they likely cancelled this initiative as well. However, in West Vancouver they are now moving forward with it. According to the Vancouver Sun, West Van has now equipped many of its employees with the capability of becoming part of a police operation.
On March 19th, West Vancouver Mayor Pamela Goldsmith Jones announced the new District Watch program was going into effect. A total of 80 West Vancouver staff are going to take part in this new crime fighting experiment. Constable Jeff Palmer told the Sun newspaper:
This dramatically expands our ability to find someone. We've had great cooperation from municipal workers in the past.
Its too bad that Vancouver's council decided to throw out the baby with the bathwater. There were dozens of excellent and cost-effective ideas included in Project Civil City that could have helped catch the bad guys. Using your garbage workers to help identify possible grow ops and catch bank robbers is not only unique, it's something that should become commonplace in our big cities.
Palmer had a great line when helping to explain the role that the municipal workers would have in helping the police catch criminals:
For their own safety, they need to function as our eyes and ears, not ... as our arms and legs.
Kudos to West Vancouver for implementing this innovative program. The District is safer as a result of it.