National Police Week kicks off today across the country and Barrie police has a week’s worth of fun events, information and even a prize for the local community.
Police Week began in 1970 as a way for police and the communities they serve to get together for understanding, information sharing and fun.
Barrie police will be busy with this tradition as they get out into the community and meet with folks from the city that communications co-ordinator Peter Leon says is sure to bring everyone closer together.
“This week is a great opportunity to share, get out in the community and let the people of Barrie know that the Barrie police is committed to our community in every which way,” Leon said. “In the past, we have set up spots in the malls where folks can come chat with us, but this year we’re taking our show on the road.
"It comes right down to the community realizing that police have a job to do as a professional service, but we’re people, too," he said. "We want and need them to know that they can approach us and police week gives us that opportunity.”
A flag-raising ceremony at Barrie police headquarters on Sperling Drive and the annual Coffee With a Constable at Park Place on Monday was just beginning of a series of community events in the city.
A 4 p.m. ball hockey game on Tuesday at the Barrie Ball Hockey Club, located at 125 Ferndale Dr. N., will pit police members against players from the ball hockey organization, which Leon hopes will show a side to police some haven’t seen.
“If there is one thing we as Canadians have in common, it’s our love of hockey,” he said. “It will be a fun event to watch, but more importantly, it shows that your local police are people, too, and we enjoy getting out there and having fun with the people who help us in this city.”
Leon says he firmly believes it is the positive co-operation between the community and the police that far outweighs any negative views some may hold.
“We live in a world where community policing is something that has been talked about for years and we see it so much here in Barrie,” he said. “When we appeal to the community for their assistance, whether it's for a rash of entries into unlocked vehicles, break and enters, or very serious criminal occurrence, our detectives and front-line officers are receiving calls from the public who want to help.
"The great thing, too, is we often hear more positive comments than negative and that helps us remember that our community is not just there for us, but with us, as we are with them," Leon added.
Along with the ball hockey game on Tuesday, there will be a series of online videos and live specialty units on Wednesday, including a commercial motor vehicle inspection at the Barrie Molson Centre parking lot.
A showcase of the traffic, tactical support and canine units will also be online on Wednesday.
Thursday will be Selfies With the Barrie Police, where you can approach any member of Barrie police, get a selfie and post it to social media using the hashtag #PoliceWeekBarrie and your name will be entered into a draw for an iPad. The winner of the iPad will be announced Friday, May 17.