The Estevan Police Service (EPS) has launched a new public recognition campaign to salute those who make a positive impact in the community.
As part of the program, individuals who are honoured will be presented with an EPS collector's coin, and a letter chronicling their contributions. Chief Paul Ladouceur said the EPS expects to honour at least one person each month.
The coin has a red ring with silver maple leafs and a copy of the EPS badge on one side; and a black ring with red maple leafs, the EPS logo and the words "A Partner in the Community" on the other.
"My hope is that we can give lots of them out, and that it will become contagious," said Ladouceur.
Ladouceur said that people who are recognized should be proud of the accomplishment.
Local police have had the coins for some time. Originally the coins were created as a token of appreciation for those who helped local officers with their training, or for people who gave a speech to local police. But they didn't distribute many coins.
Ladouceur said they wanted to take the recognition program one step further, and focus on people making a difference in Estevan.
"Sometimes we don't take the time to recognize the people that assist us every day, and make our job easier and make the community better," said Ladouceur.
People often associate police officers with handing out tickets and arresting criminals, Ladouceur said, but he believes it can be inspiring when officers see the good in people. And so the public recognition program is good for the community.
"A lot of times the police will get credit, and we'll get calls from the public saying we did a great job, but it's also nice to recognize the people who do a great job," he said.
Policing is up to every person in the community, he said.
"It could be as easy as sharing information, or safety and security tips with your friends," said Ladouceur. "It could be as easy as helping an elderly person cross the street. These things contribute to safety in our community."
The school safety patrol is another program that has enhanced safety for people in Estevan, he said.
Ladouceur believes the police force is only as strong as the community, and without help from the public, police officers wouldn't be able to solve as many crimes.
He expects that it shouldn't be too difficult to find at least one person worthy of recognition each month.
“The majority of people in our community are great, upstanding, law-abiding and good-natured citizens,” said Ladouceur. “And we want to keep it that way.”
If they need to mint more coins, then they can, he said.
One person has already been recognized under the program. Ladouceur said the recipient wished to remain anonymous, which isn't surprising, since he finds a lot of people don't want the limelight for their efforts.
“I think it's important that we give them that recognition, because it becomes contagious,” said Ladouceur. “People see that someone else has done something good, or done a good deed, and they in turn pay it forward.”
The first public presentation of a coin will come during the June 18 meeting of the Estevan Board of Police Commissioners. Ladouceur is looking forward to bringing the recipient before the board, and listing their contributions to Estevan.
The public recognition program is one of multiple efforts by the EPS to heighten their profile in the community. The police recently created a Twitter account to enhance communication. It took just a few days for them to eclipse 300 followers.
Ladouceur said they are also working on a brand new website. Not only will it offer information on the police service's impact on Estevan, but it is being designed by a member of the EPS, which will save money for local taxpayers.