MVTP Community Policing approach temporarily expands to Philippines

Constable Clint Hervias did not expect to be travelling to the Philippines in early 2020. And he certainly didn’t expect to get stranded there with no way to return to Canada.

“I left Canada on February 12 after getting news that my dad was sick and intubated in the ICU, in Manila,” says Cst. Hervias. “After he died, I flew with his body to his hometown of Culasi on Panay Island for the burial. He was laid to rest on March 16 and the following day, the entire province got locked down. All flights were grounded and seaports got shut down, and there was no way for me to get back to Manila for an international flight home.”

Cst. Hervias is just one of many Canadians stranded overseas, and unable to return home. Making the best of the situation, Cst. Hervias is taking the community-focused approach of his work as a Metro Vancouver Transit Police officer and using it to help the vulnerable people in his current community.

“The quarantine here is really hurting the people,” he explains. “People here live day to day on an average salary of about $10 per day. A missed day of work means there’s no food on the table. But there’s a bond of community, and that’s what got the conversation started among those of us who were in a position to help.”

Teaming up with other community members, creating relationships that have inspired food donations and with the assistance of the Philippine National Police, Cst. Hervias is helping to lead outreach efforts to remote communities around Culasi.

“We’ve headed out to the rural, mountainous region of the province to check in with the more neglected barangays [villages],” says Cst. Hervias “We were also able to visit nearby Mararison Island to provide some significant relief and support for the community there, which is very isolated and hard hit.”

Though he is looking forward to the day that he can return home, Cst. Hervias is grateful for his recent experiences. “You know, growing up in Africa and in Canada, I missed being surrounded by my family and my cultural heritage. Being here and getting to know my community inspires me.”

Transit Police Offices are closed to the public until further notice

In an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Metro Vancouver Transit Police headquarters’ lobby and front desk are now closed until further notice. Please contact us from home by phone at 604.515.8300 or text at 87.77.77, or our online contact form. Always call 911 in an emergency.

Transit Police officers and dispatchers continue to work hard to keep transit safe. Text 87.77.77 if you need us!

For updates, follow Transit Police on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Keep your belongings safe this holiday season

As the holiday season gets underway, many of us will be using transit as we go about purchasing gifts for friends and family. Perhaps some of us might even get that prized item from Santa. Transit Police wants all of your belongings to stay safe while you travel on transit. Here are top ten tips to keep them safe.

  1. Hold on to your personal effects while on transit. Keep track of your belongings. Keep phones and other valuables secured in zippered bags or pockets.
  2. Don’t stand near doorways with your electronic device. Don’t fall victim to the “grab and run”.
  3. Keep your backpack closed and at your feet, and not at your back. Make it harder for someone to take something from your backpack without you being aware.
  4. Keep your purse or backpack in your lap when seated, and not on the seat next to you.
  5. Don’t let anyone borrow your phone or electronic device
  6. Be aware of people around you. Be careful of distraction thefts. Pickpockets work in teams.
  7. Hold on to holiday purchases while on transit. Make sure no shopping bags get left behind.
  8. Consider using unmarked, reusable bags so that it’s not obvious you’ve got a newly-purchased item in them.
  9. When parking at a Park and Ride, take your valuables with you. Place other items into your trunk. Lock your car.
  10. If you feel yourself getting sleepy, secure your valuables and hold on tightly to your belongings.

You can also help us keep your fellow transit users safe as well. Report items they may have left behind to transit staff. If you see a theft take place, call 911. If you have information about a crime on transit, call 604.515.8300 or text 87.77.77 and someone will reply right away. To report crime anonymously, contact Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477

Transit safety tips for children

Children have the right to have peace and safety

As a Neighbourhood Police Officer with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, I get to attend community events and give talks in the Tri-Cities. One of the best things about my job is meeting children and teaching them about transit safety.

~ Cst Jenny Chung

Most children love transit. Riding on the bus or SkyTrain is a treat; the SeaBus and West Coast Express can feel like an adventure. It’s important we help them feel safe and secure so that they can enjoy the ride. By encouraging them to adopt habits that protect their safety, they will be well prepared to start taking transit on their own.

Cst Jenny Chung

Transit safety tips for children (and grown-ups, too)

  • Wear reflective clothing to be seen by drivers as you walk to and from transit, and by the bus driver as you’re waiting at the bus stop. Try to stay in well-lit areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Move away from people who are acting in an unpredictable manner. Keep one earbud out of your ear when listening to music. Know where you are going and the transit schedule for your journey.
  • Stop to greet Transit Police officers and other transit staff along your route, so that children can become comfortable approaching them if they’re ever separated from you.
  • Keep valuables hidden. Keep your belongings close to you and not on the seat beside you.
  • Sit in an aisle seat when traveling alone, so that you don’t get trapped if someone who makes you feel unsafe sits next to you.
  • Point out safety features during your route so that your child knows how to call for help.
  • Put Transit Police contact numbers – phone 604.515.8300 and text 87.77.77 – into your phone and your child’s phone when they are old enough to get one. Encourage them to call or text anytime that they don’t feel safe on transit. (Always call 911 in an emergency.)
  • See something on transit? Transit Police encourages you to See Something, Say Something. Download the SeeSay Mobile App that connects all Transit Police channels into one, single mobile application.

Author: Constable Jenny Chung

Constable Jenny Chung worked as a Neighbourhood Police Officer for three years in the Northeast Service Area, which includes the Tri-Cities. She is back on the Transit Police patrol squad now. Follow Constable Jenny Chung on Twitter and Instagram.

If you’re interested in joining the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, whether as a police officer, or as support staff, visit their careers page to explore any opportunities.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

**This post originally appeared in the Tri-Cities Child Rights November newsletter**

You’re invited: Violence Risk Triage Workshop

First responders are invited to join us for a one-day workshop on November 1

In partnership with Protect International, Metro Vancouver Transit Police is hosting a 1-Day Violence Risk Triage Workshop for identifying what warning signs to look for related to violence risk and what immediate actions to take related to follow up and documentation. The workshop is taking place on 1 November 2019 at our Headquarters in New Westminster, British Columbia.

The Violence Risk Triage is based on research, supported by best practice, and acceptable in a court of law. The workshop will focus on:

  • The nature of violence and violence risk
  • Professional responsibilities related to identifying and responding to warning signs
  • Identification of warning signs related to violence risk and implementation of immediate actions 
  • Administration of the Violence Risk Triage
Presenter
Dr. Kelly Watt is an internationally recognized expert, a prolific author, and an engaging presenter. She has been involved in developing, implementing, and evaluating risk assessment procedures around the world. She is passionate about providing evidence-based understanding, knowledge, and skills in assessing and managing risk for violence that professionals can apply in practice.

Who Should Attend?
The workshop is relevant for professionals working for First Responder agencies – Law Enforcement, Health Care, Corrections, Probation, and Border Services – who are interested in identifying and responding to warning signs of violence risk, as well as professionals from other sectors with whom they collaborate.

Course Fee: $305 CDN
(lunch included)
Room 427
400 – 287 Nelson’s Court
New Westminster, BC
Near Sapperton SkyTrain Station
or paid parking on site
Contact
mvtp_training@transitpolice.bc.ca

Top 5 transit safety tips for students

If you’re heading off to school on transit by yourself for the first time next week – or you have a child who is – it can be a bit overwhelming. We hope these safety tips help you feel more confident in your journey.

  1. Know how to call for help – save our contact numbers in your mobile phone: 604.515.8300 for calls, and 87.77.77 for texts. Learn about security features on the transit system. Look for transit staff during your journey. Transit Police, SkyTrain Attendants and Canada Line Attendants are often found near ticket machines or on platforms.
  2. Be confident about where you’re going – plan your route. Leave early so you’re not rushed. Have another route ready as a backup in case there’s a delay on your primary route. Sign up for Transit Alerts.
  3. Keep your personal belongings safe – take your backpack off and put it at your feet. Keep any valuables securely hidden in your bag. Be careful with your phone and other devices, especially when standing near transit vehicle doors.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings –stay in well-lit areas. Keep one earbud out of your ear so you can hear what’s going on. If you see someone acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable, quietly move away – go to another part of the platform, sit closer to the bus driver, switch SkyTrain cars at the next station, etc. Share your concern with staff.
  5. Report problems – whether someone has touched you inappropriately, you see another person being harassed, you’re worried about the well-being of someone slumped over in a seat, or there’s something else causing you concern, please let us know. Text 87.77.77 and someone will respond right away.

Transit is a great way to get to school and back. We hope you enjoy your trip.

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Introducing Cst. Olson – Our Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast rider

Cst Eric Olson

Constable Eric Olson will be riding 800 km on his road bike along the Sea to Sky corridor and through other cities in Greater Vancouver this September as a participant in the Tour de Coast to support Cops for Cancer and raise funds for cancer research, especially pediatric cancer. We interviewed Cst. Olson to learn more about him.

What did you do before joining Metro Vancouver Transit Police?
I attended UBC in Vancouver to study Science and Kinesiology while playing Rugby for the Thunderbirds for three of my four years there. I worked several different full and part-time jobs through high school and university, including roofing, throwing hay bales, landscaping, automotive repair, and catering, before turning my eye to Policing in 2015. In the years before I started with Transit Police, I was working Security at a busy shopping centre in Surrey and for the BC Corrections Service at the Youth Custody Center in Burnaby.

What made you submit an application for the Tour de Coast?
I was inspired by Cops for Cancer all through my school years growing up. We would regularly hold fundraising events for the tour and cheer on the riders as they rode through the hallways. Cancer has touched several people close to me, and childhood cancer is the worst of all.

Also, I have trained and played sports my whole life, however have never formally “cycled” on a road bike. I loved the idea of taking on a new physical challenge and raising money for a great cause.

What are you looking forward to the most in your Cops for Cancer journey?
I’m looking forward to all the money we will raise that will support children and their families who are battling cancer, as well as funding crucial cancer research. With my science background, I found the presentation on the research they are currently conducting to be fascinating and exciting.
If you are willing/able to make a donation for this very worthwhile cause, please follow the link to my personal donation page.

What is the best part of working for Metro Vancouver Transit Police?
The best part of working for Transit Police are the people. I have a great partner and a great squad in D-East. Not everyone gets paid to hang out with their friends and arrest bad people, and I get to do both!

What is a career highlight so far?
A career highlight for me was completing the British Columbia Tactical Officer Course (ERT Basic) put on by the Abbotsford Police Department in January 2019! It was a ton of fun and I learned so much!

If you didn’t work in law enforcement, what career would you choose?
I’d like to think that I could have become a medic or pilot with the Canadian Forces, but I guess we’ll never know. I could also see myself having been a mechanic or a logger. I love working with my hands, being outdoors, and running chain saws.

How do you like to spend your time on your days off?
I love spending time riding my motorcycle, going hiking and camping, going to the gym, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Recommend one of each: book, movie, TV show.
Book – On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Movie – 21 Jump Street
TV Show – Forged in Fire

What’s an important topic that doesn’t get as much media attention as the mainstream ones like fentanyl or homelessness?

Organ donation. You can follow this link to register as an organ donor and also to check your status if you think you have already registered.

Important Information for a Safe Ride during Canada Day Celebrations and for the Canada Day Weekend

Metro Vancouver Transit Police are committed to ensuring that everyone has a safe ride on our transit system and reaches their destination safely. With Canada Day festivities scheduled in most municipalities over the long weekend, the trains and buses will be extremely busy and often filled to capacity.

While our officers will be on duty and highly visible throughout the transit system, we are asking the public to assist us in keeping our system safe. We ask that our passengers remain vigilant and report any problems or anything out of the ordinary to us……….See Something, Say Something. Enter our Text Code, 87 77 77 into your mobile devices so that you can report any issues to us, discreetly and in real time. This will give us the opportunity to deploy our officers quickly and efficiently. In an emergency, call 911, whenever possible.

Anyone choosing to take transit should consider the following:

Plan ahead

  • Make a note of the time of your last train, bus or SeaBus and leave enough time to get there to avoid being stranded. Check the Trip Planner on TransLink’s website.
  • When travelling with young children, hold their hand to prevent being separated from them.
  • If travelling in a group, agree on a meeting spot prior to travel in the event you are separated and mobile phones aren’t an option.

Be alert

  • Avoid being engrossed in your personal electronic device – consider removing one ear bud to stay in tune with what’s going on around you.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and present yourself confidently on your journey.

Protect your belongings 

  • Keep purses secure and carry wallets in an inside pocket.
  • Have your Compass Card ready so your wallet is out of sight.
  • Keep all electronic devices close to you and, when not in use, out of sight.
  • Be especially vigilant when sitting or standing near doors.

Be safe

  • Make sure you are familiar with safety features throughout the system such as two-way intercoms and silent alarms (yellow strip) on trains.
  • Do not hesitate to use the red emergency phone located on train platforms to summon help from transit staff in an emergency.
  • Approach uniformed Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers, SkyTrain Attendants, Canada Line Attendants, SeaBus Attendants or Transit Security if you need assistance.
  • Be mindful of fast moving trains approaching stations – stay behind the yellow line.

Drink responsibly

  • Remember that consuming liquor in public, including while on transit or transit property, is against the law and carries with it a possible $230 fine.
  • Being intoxicated in public, including while on transit or transit property, is also against the law. Please enjoy events responsibly, keeping in mind your personal safety and the safety of others.

By working together, we can ensure that your experience on our transit system will be a safe one. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Canada Day!

Video: Trolley bus wire thieves put lives at risk. Learn how to keep yourself safe

When trolley bus wires get stolen, lives are put at risk. When thieves steal the wires that are used to keep Vancouver’s fleet of trolley buses moving, they can leave dangerous live wires dangling.

If you live or work in Vancouver, particularly in one of the “hot spots” shown in the video, help be our eyes and ears.

If you see any wires dangling:

  • Do not touch the downed wire
  • Stay at least 10 meters away and call 911.
  • Report suspicious activity to police
  • Don’t approach any suspicious people yourself.
  • Call the Transit Police tip line with information: 604.516.7419 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8474.

Together we can keep our communities safe.

Introducing Cst. Chua – Neighbourhood Police Officer for Surrey and Langley

This month, Constable Darren Chua takes over the role of Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) for Surrey, Langley, North Delta and White Rock. Cst. Chua will be replacing Cst. Mike Woolley who will be joining the patrol division. We interviewed Cst. Chua to learn more about him.

Q: How is the role of an NPO different from that of a patrol police officer?

A: As a Transit Police patrol officer, I was mostly doing beat-style patrol, assisting frontline transit staff and conducting fare enforcement. My role was largely reactive, responding to calls for service. In my NPO role, I get to be more proactive. I get to build meaningful relationships in the community, identify persistent crime trends and then pull those two aspects together to reduce crime.

Q: How did you begin your policing career?

A: I studied Criminology at Kwantlen University and discovered my interest in policing. So, at the tender age of 20, I applied for the RCMP, but was understandably deferred due to lack of life experience. I then switched over to Law Enforcement Studies at the Justice Institute of BC and began working as a jail guard at the Surrey RCMP cell block. Eventually, I was hired by the RCMP and served with them in Northern Manitoba before joining Metro Vancouver Transit Police in 2016.

Q: What is a career highlight so far?

A: A highlight has definitely been an auto crime project I worked on with my former patrol partner, Cst. James Gibson. Vehicles were being broken into and stolen in the vicinity of the Scott Road SkyTrain Station. Through our efforts in partnership with area business owners and the Surrey RCMP, over 50 stolen vehicles were recovered and several prolific auto crime offenders were charged.

Q: What do you like to do during your time away from work?

A: I’ve been bitten by the travel bug! On my days off you’ll often find me researching new destinations to explore. I’m currently seeking a good deal (I love good deals) to Japan and Singapore.

Q: What is the last good movie you saw?

A: Crazy Rich Asians. It’s currently my favourite rom-com. The wedding scene was so over the top, it was amazing.

Q: What are you looking forward to about working in Surrey, Langley North Delta and White Rock?

A: I was born and raised in Surrey, and have seen my city undergo a lot of positive changes. I’m excited to become a part of the rapid growth and innovation that the southeast region of Metro Vancouver is experiencing and will continue to experience with upcoming large-scale projects like the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. I’m looking forward to taking a hands-on, active role in reducing crime while these changes are underway. And also the large variety of restaurants that I’ll get to explore on my lunch breaks!

Follow Cst. Darren Chua on Twitter

Neighbourhood Police Officers, L-R: Cst. Justin Biggs, Cst. Jenny Chung, Cst. Darren Chua, Cst. Julien Ponsioen, Cst. Bruce Shipley, Cst. Kirk Rattray