MEDIA RELEASE - Hanover Trails ‘Eyes and Ears’ Continues for 2020 -
Public engagement, dedicated volunteers, partnerships and generous donors were key ingredients for the successful 2019 launch of the Hanover Trails ‘Eyes and Ears’ initiative. This Trails ‘Eyes and Ears’ initiative was an action outcome from public input and meetings facilitated by the Town of Hanover and Hanover Police Service.
There were 16 confirmed community volunteers who became eyes and ears reporting various occurrences to the Town and Police in order to make our trails safer. In addition, Hanover Police Service re-introduced their bike patrol unit last year with officers providing dedicated patrol hours on our trails and in our downtown core and parks. This contributed to a more visible and engaging experience between our police officers and the members of the public. A number of community donors supported the establishment of the bike patrol with financial and equipment donations.
The Trails ‘Eyes and Ears’ initiative experienced a successful inaugural year. The volunteers involved reported they were visible on all sections of the trails for a minimum of 40 hours per week between May and November. Many of the volunteers are on the trails daily. While the trails are not maintained during the winter months, volunteers continue to walk the trails when conditions permit. Occurrences reported to Town staff experienced a monthly decrease with the introduction of this initiative. From April to October 2019, a total of 33 occurrences were reported to Town staff. Graffiti, vandalism and sign damage was the most reported with 11 occurrences. Evidence of campfires or campsites, maintenance related or garbage notes and trees and vegetation respectively were the other reported occurrences.
Hanover Police Service notes the following statistics and information for 2019.
• 61 bike patrols averaging 4 hours per patrol.
• 30 foot patrols dedicated to the parks and trails.
• HPS investigated 18 police incidents on the trails and parks related to found property, suspicious persons, mischief, liquor
infractions, animal complaints and recovered stolen property.
• A successful provincial grant submission was awarded to the Hanover Police Service for $22,500 per year for a 3-year commitment
that will see Hanover officers dedicated to bike and foot patrol in the Downtown, on the trails and in the parks.
• In 2020, HPS has added 1 additional officer to the bike patrol unit increasing our unit to 7 members.
“This initiative is an excellent example of our engaged citizens working in collaboration with the Town of Hanover and the Hanover Police Service to identify community concerns and formulate a meaningful action plan that continues to result in positive and measurable outcomes. Together, we will ensure our community remains safer and more secure”, stated Chief Knoll.
Our volunteers have confirmed their commitment to be our ‘Eyes and Ears’ for 2020. Volunteers wear identifiable Hanover apparel when they are on the primary and secondary trails. The apparel is red and includes either a ball cap, t-shirt, vest or jacket with the Town logo on the apparel item. These individuals will be noting any areas of concern such as maintenance related items or mischief, such as graffiti to Town staff and Hanover Police Service. As well, the volunteers may aid other trail users when they see them on the trails, including directions to nearest exits or support should the trail user be experiencing an issue requiring assistance. They provide a regular presence on the trails and provide timely notification of trail issues and incidents. All volunteers have completed Police and Vulnerable Sector Checks. The volunteers have been provided with an identification card.
“I’m grateful for the commitment of our trail volunteers for this initiative that is an excellent example of resident engagement and partnership”, shared Mayor Sue Paterson. “The establishment of the Eyes and Ears Volunteer program garnered a lot of public interest and rallied our residents after safety concerns were raised. The result has been positive public engagement and a safer community.”
The Town is seeking more individuals who would like to be considered for the Trails ‘Eyes and Ears’ volunteer initiative. If you are interested in being considered to become a volunteer and you regularly use the Hanover Community Trails System, please contact Sherri Walden, Director of Parks Recreation and Culture, firstname.lastname@example.org or 519.364.2310 x2123
Our trails are open for use and individuals are being respectful of Public Health’s directive for physical distancing. Recently, a trail volunteer noted, ‘People are by themselves or with one other person walking their dogs, biking, walking or running. Everyone is very friendly and respectful and move well aside when they meet others. This situation has probably reminded citizens about the trail and they will likely use it more often when this is all over.’ As well, trail users are reminded of Public Health’s guidelines including but not limited to washing hands often, avoid touching your face and stay home if you’re are sick.
Director of Parks, Recreation & Culture
519.364.2310 x 1