The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Calgary Police Service plans on running public service announcements in order to help detainees

ThumbCherylPhoto-TwoTelevisions placed in the downtown Calgary Police Service (CPS) holding cells have not only been successful in keeping individuals calm and distracted, but police may take it one step further towards helping detainees.

Sgt. Stephen Mann of the CPS said they will use the TVs to display public service announcements.

"We plan to use the TVs as a kind of billboard for advertising for the SORCe and social services and some of those charity organizations that provide services for the homeless and for people who need some social services," said Mann.

SORCe, which stands for the Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Center, works closely with the Calgary Police Service and is a location where people can access programs and services that address their needs, according to the SORCe website.

Frank Cattoni, an inspector with the CPS, said SORCe is open to anyone.

"There's a group of Calgarians out there that tend to be high system users in terms of police resourcing. They also tend to be high-use individuals in terms of urgent care; a lot of EMS and emergency room resources and so we support a lot of work around that. Any Calgarian that is homeless or part of the vulnerable population is supported here as well," said Cattoni.

SORCe works with programs such as the Calgary Public Library, the Calgary Police Service, Immigrant Services Calgary, the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Center, and many more.

While it is not yet known how much it will cost to run the public service announcements, Mann said it is thought to be an acceptable expense.CherylPhoto-TwoInside looking out; an inside look at the holding cell in the downtown Calgary Police Service.

Photo by Cheryl Russell

When asked about whether there would be additional costs, Mann said in a follow-up email, "Yes, additional costs for purchase of equipment. That has been approved and we are waiting for installation of equipment. Obviously our budget is tight and all line items are being reviewed."

The biggest goal of the public service announcements is to help as many people as possible. Mann said simply getting an individual to make a positive step forward and not become a repeat client would be a sign of success.

"On a smaller scale, if we can put some information about our facility's processes that will answer questions that cause anxiety for our clients, that will make life easier for our staff and our clients."

CPS is also hoping to install more televisions in the downtown holding cells in places where women detainees and young offenders can see them.

"On a smaller scale, if we can put some information about our facility's processes that will answer questions that cause anxiety for our clients, that will make life easier for our staff and our clients."

-Stephen Mann, sargeant with the Calgary Police Service
The TVs have been credited with preventing fights amongst detainees in the holding cells since their installment in 2013. Mann said in the year that he has been working there, he hasn't once had to enter a cell in order to break up a fight.

"It gives them something that helps them pass the time. We wouldn't take the TVs out; they're valuable to us."

When the TVs first made their appearance in 2013, retired superintendent Richard Hinse told the Calgary Journal in a November 2013 interview, "It has been 100 per cent effective. Before we would have four or five brawls a night and now we're down to nil."

Hinse first introduced the TVs as a pilot project in September 2013. The original story can be found on the Calgary Journal website.

For those who are looking for more information on SORCe, please visit their website at http://www.scorce.ca/

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