Harbourfront Community Centre’s Youth Group hangs with the Marine Unit
The six teens and two youth workers met up with Officers Scott Cornett and Natasha Zver at the Marine Unit on Queens Quay. After learning about charts and how those charts are now online Officer Scott took the kids though the station and out to the boat garage. The oldest boat on the fleet is from the 1940′s and was used before the Marine Unit was created by the Harbour Patrol. Today the boats are high tech and used in various ways to protect the city. One of the saddest reasons for the Marine Unit to be called out is when there is a drowning. In Ontario this summer 60 lives have been lost because of drowning, all of which Officer Scott told us, had the victims been wearing a life vest.
After learning about the fleet it was time to experience the lake on one of the bigger Marine Unit’s boats. Officer Scott told us about how the harbour used to be much busier with commerce. We went along the city shoreline to the Cherry Beach area before checking out the south side of the Toronto Islands.
None of the kids had been on a police boat before and really enjoyed the trip. When the boat sped up the kid’s smiles widened.
The two hour adventure wasn’t the end of the day. After returning to the community centre Constables Drake and Dan were ready to fire up the grill for a BBQ. Close to twenty kids enjoyed burgers and hot dogs that Drake and Dan served up. The division has been spending a few days with the teens and children at the community centre this summer in an effort to break down barriers that have built up between the police and the community.
14 Division is making a visible effort to engage with community kids when there is no tensions. Too often kids in Toronto only talk with the police when a crisis is happening. When they see a neighbour or family member arrested resentments can build. By taking the time to get to know the kids in the area during a fun activity it is helped that in time those resentments can be lessened and the kids can learn that the cops are there to help them. It also allows the kids to begin to have a trusted relationship with a cop. That relationship can make a difference in a kid’s life. It can also be a way for the cops to see how they are really viewed by the youth and begin to make changes that will help build up their community.