vCOP grows to 92 on its 11th birthday

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Canada Day not only marks 150 years of Canada but also the 11th birthday of our city’s beloved volunteer Citizens on Patrol group. To mark the occasion the volunteer group that I began and continue to lead held its pre-summer BBQ last Tuesday evening at Trudeau Park.

City Councillors Ruth Kovac, Allan J. Levine and Sam Goldbloom joined me and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, City Manager Nadia Di Furia, Public Works Director Bebe Newman and of course Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and Manager Philip Chateauvert to thank the volunteers for their efforts and dedication.

Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf inaugurate the newest vCOP electric scooters

When I started this group I envisioned one day having 120 volunteers to ensure round the clock voluntary shift coverage. As we get closer to the 100 mark we see the highly marked vCOP vans patrolling at all times of day and night. With summer here, the electric scooter patrol is also out on the road and in our parks.

vCOP 10 year pins were presented to Jacques Berkowitz, Murray Brookman, Harvey Cherow, Martin Labow, Phil Lackman, Phil Mayman and Harvey B. Schwartz (Photo Sayed Sadir)

“I know that volunteering for vCOP makes you happy,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “It also makes our residents very happy, as you’re keeping a watchful eye on our streets, our homes, our parks and our kids, parents and grandparents. Thank you so much,” the mayor said.

Long service pins were handed out to those reaching five and ten years of service. Special mention goes out to Susie and Harvey C. Schwartz of Cavendish Boulevard and Allan Greenberg of Freud Avenue who signed up 10 years ago to the day, after they heard me promoting the fledgling group on CJAD.

Supervisor Susie Schwartz with husband/patroller Harvey

Special thanks to Susie Schwartz, Elaine Meunier, Philip Chateauvert, Phil Mayman, Marty Labow and Allan Bramson for organizing, setting up, cooking, schlepping and cleaning up. Well done folks! Thanks as well to Mark at Maxie’s in the Cavendish Mall for donating the fruit platter.

Most of all thank you to our loyal and eagle-eyed troupes who make themselves available throughout the day and night, at special events and at emergencies. You folks are tremendous and make our city so special.

vCOP 5 year pins were presented to Eric Goldapple, Helen Gwiazda, Issie Karpman, Roz Kastner, Peter Kurti and Robert Lefcort (Photo Sayed Sadir)

vCOP offers Vacation Spot Checks of your home while you’re away on summer vacation. Sign up here. To find out more about joining vCOP please visit our website.

B’nai Brith recognizes Cote Saint-Luc in fight against racism, anti-semtism, discrimination

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Bnai Brith senior leadership present a certificate recognizing Cote Saint-Luc’s Public Safety and Police efforts

“I am honoured to present a B’nai Brith Certificate of Recognition to the City of Cote Saint-Luc at the City Council meeting for their fight against racism, antisemitism and discrimination,” said Quebec Region Director Harvey Levine at last Monday night’s public council meeting.

Levine, brother of CSL Councillor Allan J. Levine, was accompanied by BBC leaders Eric Bissell and Ted Greenfield and made the presentation to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and me, Police Commander Jean O’Malley, Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and senior officers of the CSL volunteer Citizens on Patrol group.

The citation was a result of the B’nai Brith Canada and the League for Human Rights Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. The Audit has been conducted every year since 1982, and is the result of close cooperation with the public, local police forces and other community organizations across the country. The Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents is more than just a snapshot of the intensity of incidents against the Jewish community; it serves as the barometer of the level of racism in Canada as a whole.

Levine stated that Cote Saint-Luc is the second largest Jewish community in Canada, after Thornhill, Ontario. Remarkably, Cote Saint-Luc did not register a single anti-semitic act in 2016, out of the 1728 incidents reported across Canada. Levine, singled out Cote Saint-Luc Public Security and vCOP along with Police Station 9 for their vigilance, surveillance and prevention work.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Harvey Levine congratulated me for my leadership in Public Safety in Cote Saint-Luc, namely in creating and leading the vCOP group. This presentation was a total surprise and a great honour for me. I salute all of the great volunteers in vCOP along with the professionals in Public Security and Montreal Police Station 9. Thank you to our mayor, council and administration for their continued support of my public safety ideas and initiatives. And my utmost respect and appreciation goes to Harvey Levine and B’nai Brith Canada for their outstanding work on behalf of all Canadians.

New leadership for vCOP

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vCOP officers are welcomed into service at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall last week by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen

Four members of Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol were “sworn in” as officers last week in the first major reorganization of leadership since the group was created nearly 11 years ago.

Phil Mayman, Morris Stelcner, Bert Rabinovitch and David Goldsmith have joined the ranks around the supervisors table following their years of leadership positions including heading up the Smoke Detector Brigade and Vacation Spot Check. The four will be joined by longtime leaders Mitchell Herf, Elaine Meunier, Lewis Cohen and Susie Schwartz.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein opened the inaugural meeting of the new officers by thanking those who have already served since the creation of the group back in 2006 and wished the new members well as they set forth to build upon the success of the group and implement new programs and ideas.

The idea for vCOP in Cote Saint-Luc began during my winter vacation in Florida back in 2005. I spotted the distinctive Broward Sheriffs Office cruisers emblazoned with the words, “Citizens Patrol”.  I met with the Sherrif’s officer in charge of the program and set the wheels in motion to transplant the program in Cote Saint-Luc. I wrote the original training manual, recruited the first volunteers and got a donated patrol van. Fast forward 11 years and we now have over 90 uniformed and trained volunteers, four marked vans, four electric scooters, donated electric bikes and mountain bikes, an office and training protocols and procedures.

Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf inaugurate the newest vCOP electric scooters

Good luck to all of our officers and many thanks to all of our outstanding vCOP members.

Recruitment for new members takes place in the Spring and Fall. Information is available at CoteSaintLuc.org/vCOP or by searching the vCOP category on my blog.

vCOP is a program of the CSL Public Safety Department. The director is Jordy Reichson and chief is Philip Chateauvert. I serve as City Councillor responsible for vCOP and Emergency Preparedness.

How does Cote Saint-Luc handle emergency situations?

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In my opinion:

Montrealers were rightly miffed knowing that hundreds of fellow urbanites were stranded overnight on a snowbound Autoroute 13 a few months ago. How could this happen in 2017, we asked? I ask, could such a fiasco, on a very local scale happen in Cote Saint-Luc?

On Autoroute 13 all signs point to a major breakdown in frontline coordination, in communications between agencies, in preparation (see Gazette article link below).

I have dedicated my civic life to public safety, in Cote Saint-Luc (and across Quebec), with a  goal of making our municipality the safest place around. I began early, back in high school and CEGEP, at training in matters of safety, joining St. John Ambulance, the Canadian Ski Patrol, CSL Emergency Measures Organization and the local ambulance system. Eventually I worked my way up to overseeing public safety and emergency preparedness at the local political level.

Since that time, Cote Saint-Luc has taken matters of safety very seriously, investing in training, leadership, volunteers and citizens, in equipment and services. This deliberate and systematic nurturing of a communal culture of safety has proven effective time and again.

I was active and on duty during the major flood in the late 80s, fire evacuation in the early 90s, Ice Storm of the Century in the late 90s, Y2K, more floods, heat waves, snow emergencies, barricaded shooter, downed trees and wires, gas leaks, car crashes, missing persons, bottled water distribution… And time and again Cote Saint-Luc has proven to be a model municipality, able to effectively and quickly organize, coordinate, alleviate, sustain, recuperate…

This is no accident. We have built a corps of dedicated, life-saving volunteers in EMS over the last 50 years. We have trained over 90 volunteers as our volunteer Citizens on Patrol over the last decade. We have built a professional Public Security Department to watch over our city 24/7. We have an emergency dispatch centre and a first-class Emergency Preparedness Plan. We keep it up to date and we test it.  We’ve saved our local police station more than once to ensure close proximity to, and coordination with the authorities in crime prevention and emergency response. We built a leading firefighting and prevention department (that was taken over by Montreal in 2002). We coordinate with all levels of government. We meet regularly. We practice. We keep our citizenry informed, trained, engaged.

As a ringleader in public safety I take great pride in what we’ve accomplished and look forward to continuing to make our city the safest it can be. I’ve worked alongside many fine people along the way and they all share in this great achievement. Thank you to my council-partner-in-safety Ruth Kovac and to Bryan Payne and the late Norm Adler of EMO, to Frank Albert and the late Doug Lion of the CSL Fire Department, to Hal Newman, Rick Liebman, Stephan Kallos and Jordy Reichson of EMS, to the immeasurable dedication of our EMS volunteers including Patti-Beth Lietman, Neil Michaels, Erwin Luden, Brian Goldberg, Michael Glazer, the Sager boys (and so many more wonderful people I wish I could name all here) and vCOP volunteers including Mitchell Herf, Lewis Cohen, Susie Schwartz, Elaine Meunier, Bert Rabinovitch, Phil Mayman, Morris Stelcner, David Goldsmith, Murray Genis (and again the list of marvelous dedicated volunteers, past and present goes on and on and I thank you all immensely). And finally, thanks to our City Council for its support for my vision and all we have accomplished together. (I know I inadvertently missed some important names who’ve contributed to making CSL a safer place. Please add them in comments).

We are well prepared, trained and ready. And we are always striving to learn more, to be better. We’re all in this together.

Next week is EMS Week across Canada. I take this opportunity to salute all of our dedicated volunteers in Cote Saint-Luc along with all the paramedic professionals who serve our community.

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Probe of Highway 13 fiasco blames frontline authorities

SQ officers and safety crews try to clear up Highway 13 near Côte-de-Liesse Rd. March 15, 2017, following massive snow storm that left many motorists stranded overnight.
SQ officers and safety crews try to clear up Highway 13 near Côte-de-Liesse Rd. March 15, 2017, following massive snow storm that left many motorists stranded overnight. PIERRE OBENDRAUF / MONTREAL GAZETTE

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JPPS Michael Savelson Career and Hobbies Fair features CSL vCOP, artist and global telecommunications giant and the mayor

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vCOP at JPPS Career Day (Can you guess which one’s mine?)

JPPS Home and School presented “The Michael Savelson Career and Hobbies Fair 2017” last week.  Michael was well known to many West-End residents and he left a legacy of devotion to the school which was exemplified by his yearly presentations on Career Day that were anticipated and received with great enthusiasm (especially his tradition of giving out Tootsie rolls!).  JPPS proudly named this annual event in his honour.

Michael Litvack creating one of his Montreal area oil paintings at Career Day to be auctioned doff by the school, May 2017

Parents, grandparents and friends of JPPS students filled the gymnasium to interact with the elementary school kids about careers and hobbies, answering questions and even leaving them with souvenirs.

Teaching the kids to be safe outside, and to join vCOP in about 30 years

Presenters included Cote Saint-Luc painter extraordinaire Michel Litvack and Hampstead businessman Justin Goldenblatt of an Israeli Uniden Cellular solutions provider. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein also met the students to discuss his first year in office.

I’ve participated in this event a couple times before speaking about the Jewish General Hospital, EMS and ambulance services, and about City Hall. This time around I was accompanied by CSL volunteer Citizens on Patrol supervisor Mitchell Herf. We spoke about this amazing service and about the wonderful volunteer work being provided by the corps of 80 dedicated members.

The kids had a great time learning about staying safe crossing the street, seeing our Automated External Defibrillator shout out emergency instructions and in holding the safety devices we carry around in our vans.

Kudos to the co-chairs for this event, Beth Tannenbaum and Karen Worsoff.

 

New vCOP scooters hit the streets

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We scoot on guard for thee!

 

Cote Saint-Luc’s newest “vehicles” rolled out today as part of the volunteer Citizens on Patrol growing fleet of environmentally-friendly electric scooters. Two new Motorino XPn all electric scooters were unveiled today by vCOP founder Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf.

The scooters will replace the oldest two scooters in the fleet that will be retired after five years of service. The new ones will be striped with the distinctive vCOP emblem and orange colours in the coming days.

The Motorino XPn electric scooters have a top speed of 32 Km/h with a range up to 55 Km. They can easily climb a 24% slope and only cost 14 cents to fully charge the lead acid batteries. The low speed scooters are classified as bicycles according to the Quebec Highway Code and therefore do not require a license plate and the driver needs no special permit. vCOP trains its own members in its safe use.

The scooter also features regenerative braking; this takes energy normally wasted during braking and turns it into usable energy which is returned to the battery pack, extending driving rang and increasing efficiency. Regenerative braking not only provides energy to the battery, it also extends the life of brake pads to almost double that seen on typical gas scooters.

vCOP members travel in pairs and carry a first aid kit and are radio equipped to reach the CSL emergency dispatcher to report any findings, summon additional assistance for any urgent situation.

Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf inaugurate the newest vCOP electric scooters

Côte Saint-Luc calls residents in advance of vCOP smoke detector brigade visit

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smoke_detector
Côte Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol (vCOP) smoke detector brigade will be ringing door bells and offering to check smoke detectors, replacing dead batteries and installing new smoke detectors where needed for the fifth consecutive year. And City Hall will be sending out hundreds of phone messages in advance to alert residents to these visits.
“The smoke detector brigade has begun ringing doorbells and will continue all summer,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “Please welcome these uniformed volunteers into your house as they are there to help you.”
Last week 432 phone lines in the area from Smart to Westminster received an automated phone call from City Hall to advise of the visit:

               Members from our volunteer Citizens on Patrol, or vCOP, will be ringing doorbells on Smart, Wolseley, Hudson and Westminster from April                    28 until the end of May. 

“These vCOP members are part of our smoke detector brigade service. They will be offering to test the smoke detectors in your home. They’ll also replace batteries where needed, for free.
Our vCOP members always work in teams of two. They will be wearing their orange vCOP shirt or jacket. They will also have a photo ID. 
Remember, you should always be cautious before opening the door and letting anyone into your home. If you aren’t sure, don’t open the door.
Du 28 avril à la fin mai, les membres de notre patrouille bénévole, les vCOP, visiteront les résidences de des rues  Smart, Wolseley, Hudson et Westminster.  
Ces membres font partie de notre brigade de détecteurs de fumée. Ils vous proposeront de vérifier les  détecteurs de votre résidence et, au besoin, changeront la pile. Ceci est un service gratuit. 
Nos vCOP travaillent toujours en équipe de deux. Ils portent une veste ou un chandail de vCOP orange. Ils ont aussi une carte d’identité avec leur photo. 
Nous vous rappelons de toujours exercer de la prudence lorsque vous ouvrez votre porte et laissez entrer quelqu’un chez vous. Si vous n’êtes pas certain, n’ouvrez pas la porte. 
This initiative is done in partnership with the Montreal fire department. If you are not home when they visit, they will leave a notice with information on how to schedule a visit. This is a free service.
“Smoke detectors save lives by warning people of possible fires in a home, but they can only do the job if they are working,” said Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, responsible for vCOP and emergency measures. “Too many deaths occur across Canada that could have been prevented if the house was equipped with a working smoke detector,” Nashen said.
Since 1977, the City of Cote Saint-Luc has required smoke detectors in all homes and buildings. The owner or tenant is responsible for its upkeep, including changing the battery twice a year and replacing smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old. A carbon monoxide detector is also recommended near garages and fuel-burning devices.

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