After a three-month closure, the Somerset Community Police Centre reopens next Monday, April 18.
Located at 393 Somerset St W at Bank, the Somerset Community Police Centre (CPC) closed indefinitely Jan 20 because of flooding. It still functioned, having been rerouted to Elgin St police headquarters, but manager Const Khoa Hoang admits operating there was “extremely difficult” with regard to building bridges with Centretown’s diverse and marginalized communities.
“I often engage with community members traditionally marginalized by the police. Being behind secured doors surrounded by uniforms and guns makes it difficult to build the bridges necessary for an effective police service,” says Hoang. “The flood cleanup was managed by our director of facilities in cooperation with police management and myself. I have to thank all of our incredible staff for getting it back up and running.”
But over the last few months, Hoang notes, many people in the community kept in contact with him, asking him when the centre was scheduled to reopen.
In the three months the Somerset CPC was located at police headquarters, Hoang, who can often be seen through the CPC’s street-side picture window burning the midnight oil, says centre traffic was lower compared to when it was entrenched in the community.
“My workload remained high, working at the police station because of the community partnerships that had been in place before the flood. But we were not able to do as much work or run as full strength,” says Hoang.
The rental lease for the Somerset CPC expires this summer. While its current location is the police’s prime target area, Hoang says future locations will be left to management. Until then, all services and outreach programs will remain the same.