Public Affairs UNIT
The Vancouver Police Department was one of the first police departments in North America to hold a daily press conference for our local media. Technology and news cycles no longer require a daily press conference, but our media relations officers field hundreds of calls every week from local, national and international media for information and interviews.
Director Simi Heer oversees this section, including media spokespersons, a social media officer, and three civilians -- a creative director, a communications coordinator, and a videographer. They produce scores of brochures, flyers, certificates and video for all areas of the Department. The collateral they produce plays a major role in crime prevention and public awareness. They also maintain the content of the department website at vpd.ca.
The Public Affairs Unit is also responsible for the VPD's social media accounts, overseen by the Social Media Officer.
This Unit produces the publication Beyond the Call, which is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of Vancouver Police Department officers and civilians who routinely go Beyond the Call of duty.
The VPD Annual Report is also produced by the Public Affairs Unit, along with input from other sections of the Department.
In December 2005, the VPD launched an innovative crime prevention program called "Are You Helping Thieves?". This multimedia campaign, involving TV, radio, print, brochures, as well as bus shelters and Skytrain posters, produced media exposure worth more than a half a million dollars, all of it donated by partners interested in crime prevention. This Section was and continues to be the driving force behind the campaign.
The Section has also been the driver behind two other major public awareness campaigns. In 2008, a campaign called "If You Leave it, Thieves Won't" was launched to battle theft from auto. The Section played a major role in producing a campaign for a highly successful provincial-wide gun amnesty.