Date: May 27, 2015
Chief Elsner, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Tourism Victoria CEO and President Paul Nursey and Don Fennerty, General Manager of Fairmont Empress Hotel marked the start of the VicPD Community Ambassador Program today on the Fairmont Empress Lawn. Both Mayors, who are also co-chairs of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Boards, spoke to the importance of volunteers in both telling the history of our communities and of charting our futures.
The VicPD Community Ambassadors are VicPD volunteers, dressed in historically-inspired “bobby” style uniforms and armed only with a smile, interesting historical facts and crime prevention information.
At VicPD, we have worked hard to establish and maintain innovative and lasting connections with the people whom we serve. While almost 200 years old, the basic principle of Sir Robert Peel still guides us: “the police are the public and the public are the police.” That is why VicPD has increased the number of Community Resource Officers who serve in the neighbourhoods of Victoria and Esquimalt. That is why we recently carried out the most comprehensive community and business surveys the department has ever undertaken. And that is why we are always looking for new and meaningful ways to engage our communities.
This program is a new community outreach initiative whose aim is to inform residents and visitors alike about the many ways that VicPD serves our communities. Along the way, the program will also promote Victoria and Esquimalt as friendly, welcoming places to live, work, and play.
The concept behind this initiative is firmly rooted in the rich historical legacy of VicPD. Established in 1858, the Victoria Police Department was founded even before the municipalities of Victoria or Esquimalt were incorporated, before British Columbia joined Confederation, and, indeed, before the nation of Canada even existed. As the oldest police service west of the Great Lakes, we are as proud of this rich historical legacy as we are excited about the future that lies ahead.
So, beginning today, you will see VicPD Community Ambassadors at community events in Victoria and Esquimalt, walking their downtown “beats” in both communities while interacting with residents and visitors alike. Our goal is simple: it is to give our citizens yet another way to connect with their police service.