By Denise Bacon
The Centennial community is nestled within the boundaries served by 43 Division of Toronto Police Service (TPS) located at 4331 Lawrence Ave. E, just east of Heron Park Community Centre. Division boundaries are Rouge River on the east to Brimley Rd. on the West, Highway 401 on the north and the shoreline on the south. A visit to the website of 43 Division (www.torontopolice.on.ca/d43/) quickly indicates the importance of community policing.
Constable Julie Rowe, Community Relations Officer, and Constable Leanna Gill, Crime Prevention Officer, are an effective team to help keep Centennial and the rest of Division 43 as safe as possible through proactive crime prevention and early intervention activities.
Constable Gill’s key role is to identify crime trends in the community from information provided by the crime analysts. Then she shares relevant crime prevention tips with the community through various channels including city councillors, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and presents the tips to community groups and representatives.
Constable Gill is the 43 Division liaison with the Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and she shares the highly informative monthly “43 Division CPLC Report,” which is colloquially known as the “Crime Report.” The report has easy-to-read information about common crimes in each neighbourhood. It can be found on the CCRA website at www.ccranews.com/category/crime_reports/.
After 11 years of policing at 43 Division, Constable Gill remains enthusiastic about her job! Prior to her current role as Crime Prevention Officer, she was a Community School Liaison Officer. Constable Gill worked at nine high schools and 61 elementary schools where she made safety presentations to students on bullying, cyber safety and strategies to stay within the law. She loved connecting with students and believes that she made a difference in the lives of many young people.
Constable Gill delivers the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) program to businesses and homes where relevant. This is a complimentary audit available where businesses or residents have experienced crimes or to those who may feel vulnerable. Seniors or others who are worried about their personal security at home are invited to contact Constable Gill who will arrange to complete a safety audit of the home. Police Constable Leanna Gill can be reached at 416-808-4339 or Leanna.Gill@torontopolice.on.ca
Constable Julie Rowe is the Community Relations Officer for 43 Division. She is the primary liaison with different local organizations like hospitals, commercial enterprises and buildings, shelters and community organizations.
Constable Rowe is the Division’s representative for FOCUS, which stands for Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services. FOCUS is an innovative, collaborative risk-driven approach to community safety and wellbeing co-led by the City of Toronto, United Way Toronto and Toronto Police Service that aims to reduce risk, harm, crime, victimization and improve community resiliency and well-being.
The FOCUS Table meets once a week and includes representatives from 41, 42 and 43 Divisions of TPS, United Way, School Board Social Workers, Victim Services, counsellors and more than a hundred social services across the city. Referrals from police officers of high-risk families are brought to the FOCUS Table for assessment.
Once the FOCUS Table agrees on the families that are very high risk, the social services agencies at the table identify how they can help those families. The help is immediate with whatever the family’s needs are, such as housing, food, health care, childcare, counselling and finances. This immediate intervention and support helps families to get back on track and stay out of trouble with the law.
“It’s pretty incredible to hear the agency reps wanting to help,” said Constable Rowe who has seen the positive impact of FOCUS.
Constable Rowe spent many of her 20 years of policing as School Resource Officer, most recently at Sir Robert L. Borden Business and Technical School. She found the role to be very rewarding and said that years later some students still come up to her and say, “Because of you, I am not in jail!”
Constable Rowe’s current role is a natural fit. Building relationships and trust between people and police officers has proven to be effective to keep people on the right path. Constable Rowe can be reached at 416-808-4321 or Julie.Rowe@torontopolice.on.ca
Both Constables Rowe and Gill said that community work is their calling. They love their engagement with the community. One of the recent joys of their jobs was helping with the 27th annual Toronto Police Auxiliary Toy Drive, collecting and delivering toys to family shelters in the city.
CCRA was delighted to welcome Constables Gill and Rowe to its Annual General Meeting in November where they made valuable, informative presentations.