Inspector Martin Charron talks about new challenges in the Covid-19 Thérèse-De Blainville neighborhoods.
By Dimitris Ilias
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Although when we think of front-line fighters in the Covid-19 war we imagine our doctors and nurses (deservedly so), it is easy to overlook the police even if sometimes their role has a more uncomfortable element when it comes to enforcing rules set for our protection. In my interview with inspector Martin Charron, all I could sense was a fierce dedication to the residents of his area and a strong desire to keep them safe during these “twilight zone” times we are living.
Inspector Martin Charron
Inspector Martin Charron is a 30-year veteran of the Thérèse-De Blainville PD. Graduating from the police academy in November 1990 he is currently responsible for the communications office and the Prevention and Operational Support section. He is very proud of being part of a superb team and member of the general staff and he participates in the sound management of the department and in the decisions that are taken regularly to benefit citizen security. He decided to become a police officer at the age of 19 after studying administration in CEGEP. “We are a very open organisation” he told NSN when first asked for this interview.
The RIPTB (Régie intermunicipale de police Thérèse-De Blainville) covers 4 municipalities : Boisbriand, Lorraine, Rosemère and Sainte-Thérèse. According to inspector Charron, these cities acted quickly to implement measures to enforce the instructions of the Government of Quebec. The RIPTB effectuated an emergency measure plan and several actions were quickly implemented to ensure the health and safety of staff and citizens. The new situation caused a dramatic decrease in calls related to criminal acts and the significant reduction in traffic on the region’s roads resulting in a sharp decrease in collisions.
“Daily, we follow press briefings by the Prime Minister and his colleagues from the Ministry of Health and Public Health, we take our role very seriously, we are partners in public health and we know that together we will achieve our goals, keep our citizens healthy and safe” said inspector Charron in his interview with the NSN. The new situation compelled the RIPTB to create working committees with the different divisions and sections and with union representatives as well as to find solutions and put in place actions to promote efficiency.
One such initiative was operation Voisinage which is a type of neighborhood watch covid-style. It urges residents to call the police to report any concerns of theirs that have to do with a situation that they became aware of, that involves physical, psychological abuse or neglect.
“Citizens are not afraid, they do have their worries, of course, but they are well referred by our call center staff and our police” said Charron. The RIPTB advises citizens and refers them to community organizations or the 811.
10 tickets – hundreds of warnings
Inspector Charron confirmed that to date, 10 tickets have been issued and hundreds of warnings have been given for violations that have to do with the law on social distancing. But the overwhelming majority of the citizens understand the situation and respect the rules. Citizens are also invited to listen to press briefings from government authorities, to go to the information web pages and to offer quality time to community organizations if possible. The jebénévole.ca platform is the perfect place to register.
Officer morale and health
“Morale is very good; we work as a team” confirmed inspector Charron. He emphasized that during these hard times, officers take the time to communicate well with each other, they hold zoom meetings twice a day, every day, in order to quickly meet the expectations of staff, citizens, municipalities, partners and the media. The new challenges for the RIPTB are to meet public health expectations and actively participate in the Prime Minister’s objectives, enforce decrees and protect their citizens.
“From the start, our priority was the health of our staff, we have the equipment necessary to deal with this pandemic, human resources are doing an exemplary job, the guidelines are well established and an internal communication chain has been put in place as soon as the start in order to keep staff well informed”
Awareness and information are the preferred approaches by all police forces in Quebec today according to inspector Martin Charron. The police are present and will continue to intervene, while respecting the powers granted to them in the context of a health emergency.