Chief Dubord Talks About Crime and Safety in Delta

Chief Neil Dubord joined the Delta Police Department on June 29, 2015, after three years as Chief of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police. Before this, he was with the Edmonton Police Service.

“I always wanted to be a police officer, so way back in 1986 I applied to be part of the Edmonton Police Service and was hired in 1987. I spent 25 years there, and had a wonderful career.”

He recalls that “in 1989, the Edmonton Police Service went through a major transformation, and embraced community policing in a big way. The Service introduced a neighborhood foot patrol program and identified 21 neighborhoods considered as being high crime areas. And one officer was designated to that neighborhood. The idea was that you give that officer ownership of that community, and they will care what happens there. I was about 18 months on the job, and I volunteered to be one of the original 21 officers. That experience, what I learned, that became the foundation for how I approached the majority of my policing career.”

Chief Dubord brought this appreciation of the need for police services to work closely with the community to the Delta Police.

“I walked that beat as a patrol officers in one of 21 identified neigbourhoods for almost 4 years, and during that time we saw that crime in all of those 21 areas went way down. Our initiative helped develop a level of trust we hadn’t seen in the community before.”

As the Chief moved up the ranks within the Edmonton Police, he eventually went full circle as he became Deputy Chief in Charge of Community Policing. Thus, he saw the value of engaging community both from the front-lines and from a leadership position.

In addition to such direct experiences, Chief Dubord brings an academic lens to his work. He holds a Master’s degree in Leadership & Training from Royal Roads and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in business from Northcentral University. He has been awarded the Police Officer Order of Merit from the Governor General of Canada, the Police Exemplary Medal and the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal.

Chief Dubord took over from retiring Police Chief Jim Cessford, who had already established a community-based model of policing in Delta.

“Chief Cessford connected deeply with the community, and we took what he started and continued to build upon it,” he enthused.

“Delta is a robust community; we have great participation from our residents, people care about this community. People want their community to be safe. And we have a community that tells us what their concerns are, what their priorities are when it comes to community safety and needs.”

One such community concern is around traffic, and how traffic, as it pertains to safety and traffic flow, is managed.

“We have a Twitter account, and we ask residents where they would like to see us,” the Chief explains. “We have also identified all the major spots where there are high numbers of collisions. We have focused our resources on those areas, and the number of collisions, as a result, has dropped significantly.”

Another concern is around ensuring the police maintain a community presence. The Delta Police have ensured  there are a regular number of officers who continue to walk the beat, ride a bike or drive a police vehicle within Delta neighborhoods. And “people are most impacted by the crime that touches their lives the most, such as thefts from vehicles, intimate partner violence in relationships. So, maintaining a presence in high crime areas is key, as is responding to calls in a timely fashion. We also need to be proactive, and consider how to prevent crime, not just respond to crime. So, we divided Delta into 10 zones, and now each of those zones has an officer that is responsible for those zones. These officers and their presence are catalysts for crime prevention in that area.”

Chief Dubord notes there is a steady yet growing number of newcomers moving to Delta and recognizes the importance of engaging with such diverse communities.

“We have a newcomer program, and we believe it begins with relationships. Our school liaison program can connect the school-aged children and youth, but we also recognize the importance of outreach to those who are adults and young adults. These residents are proud community members, and we will continue to engage with these diverse communities.”

In closing, Chief Dubord expresses his appreciation for the Delta resident’s continued engagement with peace and order in their community.

“The Delta Police are grateful for all of the participation of the community in helping us as partners in keeping our community safe. We have a ‘no call too small’ mantra, so please call us, we are happy to respond and to serve Delta residents.”