Friday, February 13, 2009

They Don't Call Him Chief For Nothing

Pictures from last night's meeting

I first met Ward Clapham was he was the newly-minted Superintendent of the Richmond RCMP in 2001. I was invited by Dennis Farrell, Deputy RCMP Commissioner (Ret'd) to work with him on the Vancouver Crime Task Force that was launched by the Vancouver Board of Trade. We had the Director of the Justice Institute of BC, a director that was responsible for prisons, former VPD brass, business leaders, etc. We met with a host of judicial and law enforcement officials that included sitting judges, senior police officials, immigration enforcement and many others. We were looking for innovation - a new way for Vancouver to clean up it's act. Our path led us to Superintendent Ward Clapham, a man that Dennis Farrell highly respected as the best cop around.

Fast-forward to July 2008 and Ward Clapham comes out of a short retirement to become the new Chief Officer of Canada's ONLY transit police service. Chief Clapham rolled out a holistic plan in Richmond that included a systematic approach to new policing. He is now doing the very same thing at TransLink, only even in a more exciting way.

If you had to boil down the many key elements, I would say that Chief Clapham wants to put more police officers on the system, in the public eye, and ENGAGING the public. That public includes elderly, youth, homeless, wealthy, criminal, non-criminal. The officer forms relationships with the transit community and helps to deliver services and act as a change agent. The police officer becomes a change agent when he or she impacts the youth to change their ways. To demonstrate this, Chief Clapham talked about him and his officers taking four at-risk youth that were trouble on the transit system to a hockey game one evening instead of taking them to jail.

Chief Clapham wakes us all up when he says that "We are perfectly aligned for the results we are currently getting". He believes that there have been some major shifts in the facxe of crime and criminals that old style policing cannot fully address. The gaps cause us a great deal of problems. Where the old way of policing would be reactive by trying to repair problems and not preparing for success. You achieve a breakthrough when you DEPART from the old ways that are incomplete and move into the more complete area of policing.

The chief talks about bike patrols that offer 3 times the display of manpower (optically to the public) and having officers in the community to re-assure the general public that the system is safe and the areas around stations are protected. It's police officers doing police work to resolve root problems by ending or reducing them. You instill a sense of power into the public to transform them from victims to change agents.

I like Ward's T 3 philosophy to policing. Its simple and it works:




We hope to get updates and materials from Chief Clapham that we can post here from time to time. We have also offered him an open invitation to speak at our public meetings anytime he so desires. Everyone present was excited about the direction TransLink Police are taking, as well as being very impressed with Chief Clapham's credentials and plans.

We were pleased to be visited by John Bakker, President of Transport 2000 British Columbia.

Transport 2000 BC is a non-profit consumer advocacy group concerned with transportation issues in the Canadian province of British Columbia. We advocate for environmentally, economically and socially sustainable transportation options, and help others learn about them. They are part of Transportation Canada.

Also present was my good friend Barry Daniel, Chief Constable (Ret'd) - City of Abbotsford.

Special thanks to the following elected officials that were present and all had a long day:

Mayor Peter Fassbender, City of Langley
Councillor Rudy Storteboom, City of Langley
Councillor Grant Ward, Township of Langley

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