TIMMINS -- 'Working together to keep communities safe' is the theme of this year's National Police Week.

Timmins Police Insp. Richard Blanchette, who has been on the job for 25 years, said the policing is not like it used to be. Blanchette said the public has higher expectations of officers than it did decades ago.

"Just having a beat officer 25 years ago, that would have satisfied our citizens, but now there’s a much greater expectation," he said.

Blanchette said today, police are often the gateway to many community supports.

"We have outreach officers, we still have our community services officers, we have addiction officers,” he said.

In addition to changing scope, he said the policing landscape has completely changed and officers also have to look out more for their own personal safety.

Finding firearms now common

"It’s not uncommon now to execute a search warrant in a residence for some drug activity and you find a firearm," Blanchette said. "It’s almost expected now where 25 years ago, that wasn’t really happening locally here.”

Prior to the pandemic, the Timmins Police Service would relay police week information at a booth at the local mall. This year, it will use social media to educate the public about police units that are not as visible as patrol units.

“That would include the forensic identification, e-crimes section, training section and prisoner transport," said Marc Depatie, communications co-ordinator for the Timmins Police Service.

"These are the areas that we feel comfortable we can share that information with the general public. Obviously, the drug unit, criminal investigations, the nature of their work is pretty secretive."

Police officials said, moving forward, success will depend on their ability to create and maintain community partnerships. They're also committed to enhancing the hiring process to increase the quality and diversity of their recruits.