The Lethbridge Police Service would like to congratulate members of The Watch who have been recognized with a 2022 Community Justice Award.
Manager Jeff Cove and two Watch members accepted the award on behalf of the LPS volunteer-based program at a ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General in Lacombe Friday.
Community Justice Awards acknowledge the efforts of individuals, youth, organizations, businesses, and community groups who have made extraordinary contributions to community justice through sustainable and effective crime prevention, victim service, youth justice committee, or restorative justice work in Alberta. The Watch was selected for an award in the “partnerships and collaboration” category.
“The Watch has been exemplary in demonstrating innovation, service enhancement, community mobilization and partnership all in working with the Lethbridge Police Service to create a safe community for all,” said Lethbridge Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh, who joined Cove at the ceremony.
The goal of The Watch program, which has been in operation since May of 2019, is to make the community a safer place for all through social outreach, connection, and intervention. It provides a highly visible deterrence to negative behaviours and crime, and manages a range of issues and events that do not require police involvement.
“We have an incredible group of volunteers who work with our Team Leads, giving the greatest gift that they can give to their community and the people in it – themselves, and their time,” said Cove, who was a volunteer with the program for its first nine months. “This is a very remarkable group and I thank them for doing what they do for others every day, and for allowing me to represent them as their Program Manager.”
Since its inception in May 2019, 106 people have served with The Watch. Currently 32 members patrol the downtown area on foot and act as the eyes and ears of social and community services agencies and emergency service providers. They connect people with provincial and local support agencies and organizations including Alberta’s Virtual Opioid Dependency Program, and provide Safe Walk services for those in need.
The Watch also acts in time of medical emergency. This year through May, they have managed 23 emergency medical service events, including 13 occasions where they administered nasal Narcan and lifesaving first aid.