New Substance Supports Outreach Strategy to Launch
A newly formed partnership focused on strengthening community safety and well-being and supporting ongoing efforts to address the far-reaching effects of the opioid and other substance crises will soon be fanning out across the community. The partnership is thanks to a $1.5 million grant (over three years) from the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General's Community Safety and Policing Grant Program.
Substance Supports in Neighbourhoods Accessed through Police Partnerships (SSNAPP) is a policing/neighbourhood outreach strategy that aligns with the approved Windsor Essex Regional Community Safety and Well-Being (RCSWB) plan and the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS). The partnership, led by the Windsor Police Service (WPS), involves the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) and the City of Windsor and will assist individuals within the Windsor and Amherstburg area. It will enable constables to be visible and accessible in high-priority areas and high-risk settings, allow for coordinated place-based strategies and support both internal training and public education efforts on the available resources and needs of those affected by substance use and overdose.
The team will be led by WPS Constable Surjeet Gill and he will be supported by up to four members of the WPS Community Services Branch and further supported by a dedicated coordinator from the WECHU and the RCSWB Project Manager, Leonardo Gil. The team will work together to engage individuals and address community concerns in high-priority areas and settings through the development of neighbourhood safety and action plans.
“This new partnership is both relevant and significant for our community. Not only will it help address identified policing and community needs, it will also allow our officers and the broader community to better understand substance use as a public health issue. Moreover, this partnership will identify what resources are available and how to best access these resources” said Chief Jason Bellaire of the Windsor Police Service. "Most importantly, through this team, we will all learn from people who have lived experience with substance use and will integrate those lessons into the work.”
To leverage existing community collaborative efforts, the team will activate key community-driven strategies from the Windsor Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS) and the Windsor Essex Regional Community Safety and Well-Being plan.
“We are excited to continue working with and strengthening our partnership with WPS and the City of Windsor in service to the community. Through the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS) we have seen the impact that these partnerships can have on reducing barriers and sharing knowledge to better address substance use in our region. SSNAPP will be the perfect complement to the WECOSS and the Community Safety and Well-Being plans and aligns closely with the principals that guide each” said WECHU Director of Public Health Programs Eric Nadalin.
“This partnership truly reflects the community feedback we received throughout our Community Safety and Well-Being planning efforts and will be a key tool in our efforts to promote proactive supports and safe and compassionate response to those in crisis.” said Community Safety and Well-Being Project Manager Leonardo Gil.
The program is expected to be fully operational by the fall.