For many, police officers are modern day heroes.
To be a good police officer means performing a job that is difficult, dangerous and idealistic.. It is also incredibly rewarding.
Speaking from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment in Hartington, Const. Curtis Dick was happy to talk his job as the new Community Safety Officer (CSO) for Frontenac County.
Tall and confident, the ambitious father of three assumed the role from Const. Roop Sandhu on July 2. He has been with the police force for almost 22 years, most of which with special operations.
“I’m enjoying it immensely,” he says with a smile when asked about his work to make the community & police department closer and stronger. “There’s a lot of great organizations in the Frontenac area that are doing great work. It’s remarkable.”
Looking down at a sheet of paper with his short and long-term goals, Const. Dick speaks with passion about community mobilization. One of his first priorities is to help people with mental health issues.
“When people are dealing with the police, they’re either at crisis or in crisis,” he explains. “Everyone needs a conversation. There are a lot of resources that can be accessed. We need to condense it and make it easier for people to get the help they need.”
Raised in Cobden, Const. Dick has served with the Frontenac OPP Detachment since January 2017. He says many of the issues facing this jurisdiction are the same as other rural areas.
“What we’re dealing with here is very common, unfortunately,” he explains. “Some families could benefit from parental skill building and programs for children. How do we get them the resources – that’s the number one thing.
“My philosophy is very simple. My goal is to make you better,” he says sincerely. “I want to strengthen your ankles to help you walk on your own. It’s quirky, but it opens some doors.
“How do we help you now,” he explains kindly.
Reading from his list of goals, Const. Dick plans to use the next three years to support and build relationships across Frontenac County.
He talks about working with community groups already helping seniors become less isolated through day programs such as Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) and partnering youth with peer mentors. He also wants to increase police presence in schools to show students the person behind the uniform; building relationships with a promise to serve and protect.
“There are 3,700 seniors in this area. How do we reach them?” he asks rhetorically.. “We need to continue to build on community connections to reduce their isolation.”
The new CSO also wants to promote a service by the police auxiliary that helps residents safeguard their property from break and enters.
Some of his long-term goals include increasing the detachment’s exposure through social media & community events and strengthening bonds with lake associations..
“If even half of these goals come to fruition, it would be awesome,” he said.
“Policing is not just a job, it’s a calling,” he said “How many people can I get to know? How many lives can I impact?”