Delta police got the chance to liaise with the public last week during North Delta’s Coffee with a Cop event.
Held at the McDonald’s on Scott Road and 70 Avenue on Friday, March 16, Sgt. Cathy Geddes said the mingling event was a good way for the department to engage with the community on key issues.
“I think it’s great just sitting down, having coffee [and] hearing whatever concerns they might have,” she said. “Any interaction like that, for us, I think it a good one. People don’t often have contact with us unless it’s a result of being pulled over, or a call for service to their house.
“As far as community engagement, it’s excellent.”
Anywhere from two and four police officers were available at a given time to take questions on Friday, and the Reporter got answers to some questions that were submitted by our readers.
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Are there plans to put additional patrols along 84th Avenue around Richardson Elementary?
According to Const. John Jasmins, there have been a lot of complaints about that area. Part of the problem, he said, is that it’s a playground zone as well, meaning that the 30 km/hr speed limit is in place from dawn to dusk.
“A lot of people don’t realize that,” he said. “A lot of people don’t see the signage.”
He said there is targeted traffic enforcement in that area, and often there are volunteers from the community police station doing speed watch.
“It’s an ongoing issue, but we will continue to have enforcement there,” he said.
With rumours of a homeless camp being set up in Watershed Park, are there plans to patrol that area?
Jasmins said he hadn’t heard those rumours, but if anyone had information about those camps, they should contact the district liaison officer at the North Delta community police station, located at 11906 80 Avenue.
With the weather becoming more spring-like, there will be more bike patrols in that area, Jasmins said.
“Definitely that’s something I will ask them to keep an eye out for while they’re out on patrol,” he said.
Are there plans for more residential patrols between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. in North Delta?
Jasmins said police do patrol throughout the day and night, but residential patrols at that hour would be “a matter of targeting or allocating our resources where we have hot spots, or where we believe they are needed.”
The DPD is using a new model of zone ownership, in which patrol officers are responsible for particular areas.
“We look at where the areas we’re having problems, and we deploy resources there,” Jasmins said. “But if there’s a particular issue in their neighbourhood, then please contact us and we’ll try to increase patrols.”
What do police mean when they say hands-free when it comes to distracted driving?
According to Sgt. Geddes, hands-free literally means having your hands away from your phone.
“You want to have your device in your pocket or on a mount,” she said. “Hands-free according to the Motor Vehicle Act is you don’t have your hands on your phone, period. You don’t have it sitting on your lap.”
There are common sense exceptions to the hands-free rule — you may still have to dial a number or turn on your podcast — but how much you can get away with depends on the police department and the officer.
“There’s so many things we can encompass into distracted driving — a dog on your lap is distracted driving,” she said. “How much it’s enforced depends on the officer and everything else.”
What’s the best set-up to listen to a podcast while driving?
Geddes doesn’t listen to podcasts while she’s driving, so she wasn’t too sure of how most people would be setting it up to begin with. But, she said, the best practice was to follow the hands-free rules by having the podcast playing through Bluetooth, or from a device mounted in your car.
You can’t listen to the podcast through conventional headphones while driving, and if you want to use earbuds, only one can go into your ear.
“If you’re going to go that route, then under the Motor Vehicle Act, you’re only allowed to have one earpiece in an ear,” Geddes said. “These people that are driving around with headphones, that is illegal.”
What is the DPD’s role in sex education in the school district, especially in regards to healthy relationships?
According to Geddes, the Delta School District has a strong sex education program, starting in Grades 6 and 7. Although the Delta school liaison officers are a part of that program, the emphasis is on the school staff.
Where the DPD does come in is if there are concerns about a particular student. The school liaison officers work closely with the principal, vice-principal and counsellors at the school, and if an issue comes to their attention, there may be a group discussion with the student.
“Often it’s appropriate to have the officer there to talk about right choices in life,” she said. “Those vary depending on the request from the school.”
Will the DPD be part of high school assemblies to target cyber bullying, sexting and social media use?
The DPD is heavily involved in social media presentations in schools, Geddes said.
“We’re really trying to focus most of our social media presentations in the elementary schools,” she said. “We’re having so many problems start there and they just compound and get worse into high school.”
These social media presentations include messaging around cyber bullying and online threats, as well as appropriate ways to use different social media channels.
“We’re hitting that one pretty hard,” Geddes said.