New Prince Albert police unit to build on community relationships

File photo.

“They’re not driving around in a patrol car with the windows up.”

– Sgt. Travis Willie

You may notice a couple of police officers walking and biking downtown and in shopping centres in the coming months.

That’s because the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) has created a unit dedicated to non-emergency patrol that fosters officers’ relationships within the community.

Cst. Derek Simonson and Cst. Ron Meyers are assigned to the Community Policing Unit.

According to Sgt. Travis Willie, who’s in charge of community services, they’ll be starting at the end of September or beginning of October.

“They’re not driving around in a patrol car with the windows up. Whether it’s hot or cold, they’re on foot and they’re on bikes and they are going in and out of the businesses and introducing themselves,” said Willie.

They’ll be patrolling downtown, in the Cornerstone and South Hill shopping districts and on the Rotary Trail.

“Those are by far the busiest areas in our city and have the most people and the most traffic, and so I think people are going to appreciate it and welcome it to see those officers.”

Additionally, Simonson and Meyers will be representing the police service in schools and at community events.

Willie said larger centres usually have officers on foot and bike patrol. PAPS used to do foot and bike patrol and wanted to bring it back.

He said both Simonson and Meyers were born and raised in Prince Albert. Now raising their own families, “They want the community to be a better place and a safer place.”

Willie, Simonson and Meyers will based in a new police sub-station downtown on 10th Street East. It’s currently under renovation, but is expected to open late this fall.