Montreal police revealed the details of a new squad formation designed to carry out community co-operation and outreach operations. The newly formed team of twenty-four officers and four supervisors has been named "Équipe de concertation communautaire et de rapprochement (ECCR)" and is being set into motion in three zones of Montreal.
The ECCR's aim is to establish connections with the community, create partnerships, resolve issues and reinforce preventive measures for the targetted issues. Montreal community members will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with uniformed officers trained specifically in community relations.
The announcement was made following the third shooting that occured in three days in Montreal this week. Half of the team members are currently assigned to address issues in the city's downtown area.
ECCR officers will travel primarily on foot in pairs and will visit various organizations in order to establish connections with residents, including homeless persons and persons suffering from mental health issues. Another unit will be established in the West End of the city in the coming months which will focus primarily on establishing relations with religious communities.
ECCR candidates are subjected to a detailed selection process. Part of the criteria includes having human resource experience, strong communication skills and people skills. Officers are required to demonstrate their ability to create and foster partnerships. A minimum of five years experience on the force is mandatory, prior to applying. They must also participate in personality testing and behavioural testing.
“The vision of the teams is to build links of proximity through outreach, to be involved with citizens and partner groups,” ECCR commander Steve Thouin said. “We want to increase connection, demystify the roles of police, and allow for a shared understanding of the realities lived by all, while informing people about what organizations they can turn to for help.”