• Stephanie O’Hanley

Station 1’s new commander encourages police to “think like citizens”

No question Station 1’s new commander, Sébastien de Montigny, has an interesting background. Before joining the Montreal police, de Montigny, who introduced a fraud prevention talk held March 10 at the Beaconsfield Library, completed degrees in political science and human resources management. He started his policing career in 1998 at Station 6 in Ville St. Laurent.

“After that I moved to downtown Montreal, Station 21.” The neighbourhood includes St. Laurent Boulevard and Ste. Catherine, which de Montigny called, “a tough district, the red light district.” Following stints and promotions at neighbourhood police stations in Rosemont, NDG, Rivière-des-Prairies and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, de Montigny said he became commander of a Montreal police section called Vigie des pratiques policières and was in charge of all major police events on the Island of Montreal that happened during night shifts and weekends, including incidents ranging from barricaded men to homicides.

“After that I was promoted to Station 1 here,” said de Montigny, who’s been in the job since February 2. “I’m a citizen of Montreal. I understand the needs. I’m thinking like a citizen and I want my (police officers) to think like citizens, even if they live off the island, when they come to work at the station, they’re citizens.

“I’m trying to meet you and be present with you,” de Montigny added. He’s continuing an action plan launched by his predecessor at Station 1, Commander Richard Thouin, who last November met with citizens from the five cities Station 1 serves, Baie d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Kirkland, Ste. Anne de Bellevue and Senneville.

“That’s a new approach, a citizen approach,” de Montigny said. He said the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) Director Marc Parent encourages police to ask citizens what kind of policing they want. De Montigny outlined three goals from Station 1’s action plan. To create a structure of “proactive exchange” between police officers and citizens, the station launched Coffee with a Cop, where police get together with citizens.

“We had one February 25 at the McDonald’s on St. Charles Blvd.,” he said. To keep citizens, mayors and director-generals of cities in the loop, the station plans to send out emails letting people know, “our actions that we’re doing in the community.”

In order to promote traffic safety within the community and educate the public about the consequences of violating the Highway Safety Code, de Montigny said police will be “present on the road” but also in the community. “My children aren’t playing on the service roads,” said de Montigny.

“They’re playing in the parks and near the schools. That’s (where) we’re going to be.” As well, de Montigny said as part of its eff orts to address abuse, crime and safety concerns affecting elderly people and people with special needs, the station will continue to give talks like its fraud prevention talk.

“We’re going to do things like that for the elderly … to ensure that police officers have a better understanding of the needs and concerns of the elderly and people with special needs. That’s very important. “We’re going to present the results of this at the end of the year,” de Montigny said.

A copy of Station 1’s action plan is available at http://www.spvm. qc.ca/en/PDQ1.

De Montigny encourages anyone with questions or concerns to get in touch by phoning (514) 280-0101.

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