Local High School Students to Collaborate with Cobourg Police Service

COBOURG, ONTARIO, May 14, 2024 – Today, Venture13 welcomed student teams from Cobourg Collegiate Institute (CCI) and St. Mary Catholic Secondary School (SMCSS) to take part in Pitch to the Chief ™ – Youth Edition.

Hosted by the V13 Policetech Accelerator, a strategic joint initiative of NCFDC and the Cobourg Police Service (CPS), Pitch to the Chief ™ – Youth Edition challenges high school students to develop solutions for crime prevention and community innovation for collaboration with the CPS.

Developed over a semester in business studies classes taught by Molly Klintworth (CCI) and Ryan Goodall (SMCSS), the students’ passion and creativity were on full display as they presented their innovations to Chief Paul VandeGraaf and his panel of judges, which included, Deputy Chief Jeff Haskins, Rene Hamman, Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator at the Business and Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland, and Eunice Kirkpatrick, CEO of the YMCA Northumberland.

The solutions developed by the students ran the spectrum from a youth skills development initiative to homelessness to cybersecurity for seniors, from bike safety to an app to digitally transform reports for victims of domestic abuse. “It was a great morning for me,” said Chief VandeGraaf to the participants. “To listen to your view, the students’ view, of what I, as Chief, can or should fix in the community is pretty remarkable. I want to thank you for your thoughtfulness, your work, and the effort you put into this.

The winning team (securing a $500 grand prize and a project space at Venture13) was PinIt, an application that assists in safe needle disposal from public spaces. The runner-up, team Restorical, re-imagined the derelict Sidbrook Hospital site as a social housing project and centre for youth advancement in the skilled trades.

Chief VandeGraaf and the panel of judges were impressed with how PinIt aims to improve safe needle pick up and disposal systems, working with organizations like PARN, through digital communications and data analytics. “Never before have we seen harm reduction specialists, people with experience in the world of homelessness and addictions, riding in a police car, being a partner. And part of that partnership is cleaning up our streets,” said Chief VandeGraaf. PinIt aims to “close the loop” in coordinating and learning from the PARN initiative.

About the V13 Policetech Accelerator

The V13 Policetech Accelerator is a joint initiative of the Cobourg Police Service and NCFDC. The accelerator is committed to excellence in policing operations and leadership in community safety innovation. Located at Venture13, this unique collaboration offers competitively selected researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators the opportunity to validate new approaches to twenty-first century policing in a controlled and defined small-town, pilot-scale environment.

About NCFDC

NCFDC is an innovation organization based at Venture13, focused on funding, financing, and strategy services for entrepreneurs. Working with firms that create jobs and help to grow a diverse, NCFDC advances sustainable and inclusive economies in Northumberland, southern Ontario, and Canada-wide through its numerous initiatives such as Community Futures Program (CFP), thriveFORWARD, DELIA, and StrikeUP Canada. Funded by FedDev Ontario, ISED Canada and the Government of Canada.

About the Cobourg Police Service

Formed in 1834, the Cobourg Police Service is an innovative force committed to community safety innovation and operational excellence. CPS Corporate Services division (located at Venture13 in Cobourg) is Canada’s leading national wholesale provider of online criminal records checks. Under the leadership of Paul VandeGraaf, Cobourg’s thirteenth Chief of Police, CPS is at the forefront of creative and collaborative approaches, from tiered policing to HARP to the Venture13 Policetech Accelerator initiative with NCFDC.