Police Chief hails Downtown Kingston Foot Patrol a success ‘right off the hop’

Kingston Police Chief Scott Fraser speaks to the Kingston Police Service Board. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

At their meeting on Thursday, June 20, 2024, the Kingston Police Service Board (KPSB) ratified a motion to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding between the KPSB and the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA), with respect to a one-year pilot project for the Downtown Kingston Foot Patrol.

Chief Scott Fraser gave an update on the success and challenges faced by the new project’s participants to date.

“So we’ve been down there for a few weeks, and it’s been remarkable. Our officer down there has, first of all, changed a lot of attitudes of some of our other officers,” he explained, noting that new officers are often “forced to do the beat when [they] first start working” and since it’s seen as a somewhat unwanted rite of passage, “[they’ll] never walk it again because it was forced upon [them].” Thus, Fraser noted it has historically been “troublesome to get officers out there” on foot patrol once they become more experienced. 

“But the officer who was selected for this position is great at it, and he has had a number of very serious offences occur when he’s in close proximity,” Fraser said, adding that the presence of a patrol officer in the downtown area is proving to help reduce response times significantly.

“Yesterday, for example, a person was waving a large butcher knife in a threatening manner toward people, and [the officer stationed downtown] was right on it, and nobody got injured.” 

In the absence of the officer on the downtown beat, the call for police assistance would have come through their communication center, officers in vehicles would be dispatched, and then they would have to travel to the scene from various parts of the city to respond. Those officers can now concentrate on other parts of the city, while the foot patrol and some bicycle officers can remain present downtown for more efficient response times.

“So, we’re seeing some real benefits to this right off the hop,” Fraser asserted. 

Further, Fraser told them that the Solicitor General of Ontario Minister Michael Kerzner had visited the station earlier on Thursday, June 20, 2024, and that Fraser hopes that Minister Kerzner will be just as eager to build on these successes as Kingston Police is.

“We just submitted a grant application, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they can see the value of the grant for what we’re looking to add—some more resources to the downtown. We will keep you posted,” he said

The police chief called the efforts between Kingston Police and the BIA a “tremendous partnership thus far.”

The Kingston Police Services Board holds its regular meeting on the third Thursday of each month, beginning at 12 noon in the William Hackett Boardroom at Kingston Police Headquarters, 705 Division Street.

One thought on “Police Chief hails Downtown Kingston Foot Patrol a success ‘right off the hop’

  • Police should be walking a beat in the neighbourhoods they serve. Then again, most of the neighbourhoods we’ve build over the last 60 years are sprawling suburbs that don’t even have sidewalks. It’s a problem.

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