Neighbourhood Officers Connect with Community
“I got out of my car and went over to see how she was doing,” said the 52 Division Neighbourhood Community Officer, who is assigned to the Church-Yonge Corridor.
The interaction was captured on camera by a passerby, who wanted to note the act of kindness and forwarded the photo to the Toronto Police Service.
Spencer Craddock said he took the photo because it was a positive moment.
"I'm glad we have such great officers who care about our community. Acts of kindness like this are what makes Toronto a better place to be. It says a lot that our officers treat others with respect, no matter what sort of lived experiences or situations they are currently in," Craddock said.
During their chat that lasted for about 30 minutes, Tanham asked the woman if she would be interested in being housed.
“Not everyone is comfortable coming off the street but she said she would love to be in a warm place during the winter,” noted Tanham, who has been with the Service for 17 years. “So I took her name down and passed into on to the FOCUS table to see if we can get help for her.”
Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) is an innovative approach led by Toronto Police, the City of Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto, that aims to reduce crime and victimization and improve community resiliency and well-being. Police officers are able to engage with social service agencies to help connect people who encounter police with additional supports that police are unable or best suited to provide.
Before leaving, Tanham and his partner bought dinner from McDonald’s for the woman who was very appreciative, noting that many officers do the same in their work everyday.
“As Neighbourhood Community Officers, it is our duty to engage community members, and that includes the homeless,” he said, of the ongoing work across the city to engage with the community.
Neighbourhood Community Officersare assigned to communities for four years, in order to build long-term relationships to improve community safety.