The Repentigny police department adopts new intervention methods

The Repentigny Police Department Adopts New Intervention Methods

Helen Dion, director of the Police Department of the City of Repentigny, wants to develop local policing.

Officers from the Repentigny Police Department (SPVR) will be accompanied by six social workers during interventions related to mental health problems, indicated its director Helen Dion.

This project aims to better adapt the support we offer to the population, explained Ms. Dion, during an interview on the show Tout un matin on ici Première.

She reveals that 40% of calls [to 911] are from people who have a disturbed mental state. And to respond to these calls, you need specialized people who are more suited to this kind of situation, she pointed out.

The responders can go to the scene alone or be accompanied by police. It depends on the seriousness of the situation, said Ms. Dion.

When a call is made to 911, our dispatchers will have to identify the seriousness [of the situation]. If it's a call related to a suicide attempt by drugs, they [social workers] will go alone, without uniform and with a normal car, she explained.

The person must know that we are there to help him and not to stop him, said Ms. Dion. It is follow-up work that we want to do to help the person feel better. This is why of the six social workers recruited, two will be assigned to the CISSS de Lanaudière.

According to Ms. Dion, this project has been thought through for a long time. For years, we have been working to improve our methods of intervention with people suffering from mental health. With the CISSS, we have set up training programs for our police officers. But here we want to go further by offering a follow-up to the people concerned.

Is the project linked to the police blunder which led to the death of Jean René Junior Olivier in August 2021? Madame Dion says no, saying that it is a reflection that precedes this event.

The police must develop new ways of doing things, be open, create diversity and inclusion, she justified herself.

We want to do community policing, to make ourselves known and to make known what we do, because people don't know the role of the policeman. Why are we asking for identification? Why are we stopping a vehicle? explained Madame Dion.

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