New sheriff in town
While Pierrefonds/Roxboro and Ile Bizard/Ste. Geneviève may have to wait until July 2010 for their brand new police station building, new commander Michel Wilson started off in the section this week.
"Our team is going to focus a lot on prevention," said Wilson, a 26-year veteran with the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, with, most recently, a year and a half long stint as commander of Station 12, which covers Westmount and sections of Ville-Marie.
Wilson said one of the police force's priorities will be to keep street gangs in the borough under control. "I don't deny that there are street gangs in Pierrefonds, but we have them under our control," he said, referring to an 18-arrest coup by officers at Station 3 and neighbouring 4, which covers Dollard des Ormeaux, over the course of the summer.
Wilson said he would also like to see a greater integration with the community at large and police officers, and said the SPVM has even hired a community consultant, Kathy Van Brunswick, to do so. "She is not a police officer," said Wilson, but she will work closely with police in order to come up with new integration programs for communities.
Wilson said work needs to be done in order to erase stereotypes that exist among minority cultures of police officers.
In Westmount, monthly meetings were organized at the YMCA, which could hold up to 4,000 people, with newly arrived immigrants and the police force, and Wilson would like to have similar contacts here, he said. "We're already doing that kind of work," he said, but he wants to expand its reach. "That's where local community groups come in," he said, saying he wants to create stronger links with such organizations.
Wilson and the rest of his staff at Station 3, which is currently divided between a station that is open to the public on Paiement Street in Ste. Geneviève and an officer-only station on Gouin Boulevard in Pierrefonds, are slated to move to a central location on Pierrefonds Boulevard in July 2010.
Work on the station was inaugurated recently, and remains a point of pride for Pierrefonds/Roxboro borough Mayor Monique Worth. "It's going to be the first police station on the Island of Montreal to be LEED-certified," she said at a council meeting yesterday night, referring to an environmental standard awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organization.