Thunder Bay Police have moved back its target for setting up a new zone policing system, but the delay isn't stopping work on a citizen-driven zone watch program.
Zone policing was planned to start this month, however the rollout of the program that sees officers assigned to one of six areas in the city isn’t expected to happen until around the new year.
Thunder Bay's Zone Watch program:
- Zone 1 - Current River / County Fair
- Zone 2 - Downtown north core to Mariday Park
- Zone 3 - centre of the city - Intercity, East End to the highway
- Zone 4 - Downtown south core / Northwood
- Zone 5 - Arthur Street to Westfort
- Zone 6 - Oliver-Paipoonge
Police spokesperson Julie Tilbury said the delay is because of changes required to make the system operate "as far as calls being received and being able to prioritize them, ensuring they`re being dispatched to the proper units."
As for the citizen-driven zone watch component, Tilbury said the people who have been trained are communicating with police command staff through a secure website about things like problem areas within their section of the city.
Tilbury said the citizen input "is very valuable."
"[The trained citizens in the zone watch component are] working with us [with the] understanding that our roll-out is slower than we anticipated," she said. "So they're being patient with us, but we're doing the best we can with the individuals we have available."
A total of 68 people have completed the training so far, with about another 30 signed up for the fall. Police are still taking applications for the fall sessions for zone watch training.