A powerful group with diverse expertise has been hand-picked by Mayor Ken Popove to form a task force on crime.
The “Integrated Community Safety Task Force” (ICSTF) has a mandate to offer recommendations to city council on reducing the high crime rate in Chilliwack, with “focused interagency collaboration,” according to new terms of reference approved by city council Tuesday.
The affordable housing crisis, homelessness, addictions, and mental health are the backdrop for the creation of the new select committee, aimed squarely at addressing the root causes of crime Chilliwack.
“Chilliwack has high criminal code offence numbers and case burdens which often stem from these pre-cursors,” according to a staff report on the new terms of reference for the task force. “Crime, and the perception of crime, is a complex issue and requires substantial effort to reduce the negative impact to the community.”
The volunteer task force will bring together community-oriented individuals whose considerable experience ranges from politics, corrections, policing, mental health, addictions, education and more. The meetings will be closed to the public, but they may hold special public meetings.
“The purpose of ICSTF is to have focused interagency collaboration on crime, identifying opportunities for improved systems, processes and initiatives in Chilliwack.”
They’ll be looking for ways to support counselling, treatment, affordable housing options, outreach and restorative justice efforts, which are seen as prevention tools.
“It is an appropriate time to collaboratively inventory the work done to date, and look for interagency gaps and opportunities,” according to the staff report on the task force.
There is even a vision of the future, where the work of this committee might become a model for other cities dealing with high rates of criminality.
“The task force will provide advice to council on strategies to address crime in the community,” according to the staff report. “The task force will report its findings and opinions to council.
“Since crime has no borders, any systemic improvements that this yields should have a far-reaching impact and should benefit other communities facing similar challenges.”
Membership is up to twenty (20) voting members appointed by Council as follows:
• Bud Mercer, Chilliwack City Councillor, Former RCMP Assistant Commissioner, (Co-Chair);
• Jason Lum, Chilliwack City Councillor, FVRD Chair, PSAC Chair;
• Clint Hames, Former Mayor, City of Chilliwack, (Co-Chair);
• Superintendent Bryon Massie, QIC, Upper Fraser Valley Regional RCMP Detachment;
• Tonia Enger, Provincial Police Services (retired);
• Barry Penner, QC, former provincial cabinet minister;
• Petra Pardy, RN, MA Executive Director, Chilliwack/Hope/Agassiz, Fraser Health Authority;
• Stan Kuperis, Director, Mental Health & Substance Abuse, Fraser Health;
• Sherry Mumford, Consultant, Director MHSU FH (retired), Criminology Professor UFV & SFU (retired).;
• Shannon Tucker, A/Director, Office of Crime Reduction & Gang Outreach, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General;
• Steve Esau, Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS); City of Chilliwack
• Jacqueline Kea, A/Warden; Ford Mountain Correctional Centre;
• Jennifer Capricci, Area Director, Correctional Service of Canada – Federal;
• Mike Csoka, Community Member;
• Honourable Steven Point, Former BC Provincial Court Judge and Former Lieutenant Governor of BC;
• Dan Coulter, Board Chair, School District 33;
• Others, as necessary.