Results from the Lethbridge Police Service citizen survey were released Thursday and the data suggests citizens are quite satisfied with their police force.
The numbers, released by the Citizen Society Research Lab at Lethbridge College, show 72 per cent of respondents indicated they believe the LPS is doing a good job policing the community while 91.5 per cent indicated they believe LPS officers are polite and respectful when conducting their duties.
Chief Robert Davis said he’s happy but not surprised to see the results.
“Everyday I’m impressed with the quality of officers we have,” Davis said. “The sergeants, staff sergeants, the command staff are very well trained and very committed to the community.”
The telephone survey provides the police service with tangible data which aids in business planning and resource deployment for the coming year. It also provides LPS with a better understanding of how they are perceived in the community.
“We’re in constant communication with each other about the goings on in the downtown core, ways of how we can assist each other in the keeping of the peace so to speak,” Dwayne Schaff, associate director of Streets Alive Mission, said.
Schaaf, who works closely with police, says he is most impressed by how officers handle the community’s troubled population.
“When you’re working with [people] that are hard, they have their rough edges and stuff like that… and to see the police maintain that polite, that courteous, very respectful demeanour is encouraging,” he said. “I work with some of the most at-risk people in the city and I feel safe and confident in our police department.”
Chief Davis says many of the positive results can be attributed the service’s shared attitude.
“All ranks of the organization understand the philosophies,” he said. “We’re here for the community, it’s so refreshing to be in an organization that has that community-mindedness. ”
The survey showed 67.7 per cent of respondents believe LPS is doing a good job meeting residents’ expectations, while 76.8 per cent believe LPS has neither improved nor worsened in meeting expectations. Police say they will be working with a consultant to look through the data and better identify areas of improvement.
“We’ll be moving forward with a working group and a committee made up of all ranks within the service, looking at how we can deploy better, what we can do more efficiently,” Davis said. “Hopefully, we can see those areas of improvement flesh out next year.”
Davis says he will continue to promote a “boots on the ground approach,” where officers are in the community, interacting with citizens and ensuring the safety of the city.