Okanagan RCMP officers are working together to create a safer community.
Based on a model created in Saskatchewan in 2011, since adopted across Canada in municipalities like Surrey, Mission and in recent months Penticton, the Kelowna RCMP and the City of Kelowna announced the rollout of KOaST, otherwise known as Kelowna Outreach and Support Table, a collaborative risk driven, community safety and well-being initiative, according to the RCMP in a news release.
Cpl. Carrie Seale of the Kelowna RCMP and co-chair of KOaST believes the time was right for a situation table to be created in Kelowna. “This was the natural next step,” she said. “Our partners are already extremely collaborative and committed to helping our community. Now we can be proactive in identifying those experiencing acutely elevated risk and reaching them sooner to prevent the need for a future emergency response.”
Representatives from law enforcement, community corrections, public health, housing, social services, income assistance, public education, youth justice and the local municipality will meet regularly to provide coordinated assistance to those in the community who are believed to be at risk, the release said.
Following training sessions hosted by representatives from Global Network for Community Safety, practitioner’s gathered around the first Kelowna Outreach and Support Table hosted Tuesday morning. Four situations of acutely elevated risk were identified at the table and a collaborative action plan was implemented by a variety of key stakeholders, the release said.
Brent Kalinowski, Partner and Strategic Advisor of Global Network for Community Safety, is pleased to see how quickly Kelowna and B.C., has recognized the opportunity to adopt these collaborative principles in order to connect those in the community that are at acute levels of risk, the release said.
He said that “with the recent training and launch of KOaST, there is now a mechanism in place in Kelowna to identify acute risk sooner and mitigate those risks, before having to activate an emergent response to an imminent crisis situation.” He further adds “it’s collaboratively moving upstream to address the causal factors that lead to crisis by providing supports. KOaST and its partner agencies have embraced that opportunity and now belong to a growing network of community safety and well-being communities across the country.”