By Candice-Rose Gagnon 
BELLEVILLE – There will be a Belleville police officer patrolling the streets of downtown starting in January.
“We’ve been listening loud and clear. I know that some people feel that the police service just carries on and we are not listening to the community,” Police Chief Cory MacKay  said at the Belleville Downtown Improvement Area ‘s annual general meeting last week. She announced the newly formed downtown position at the meeting.
Constable Mark Hall will be assigned to the downtown core beginning in January. He will patrol on foot and bike and act as a community officer, said MacKay.
“He doesn’t work 24/7, 365 days a year. And we aren’t going to stop other officers from doing foot patrol,” she said.
Hall will be the connection between the BDIA, business owners and individuals who live downtown for ongoing issues and problem, MacKay said.
The new downtown position was created in September, and an internal competition was held for the role, she said. No extra officers were needed to create the position, she added.
There were 1,600 calls to police from the downtown core in 2013, according to the year end report for 2013 that the chief released at the meeting.
MacKay also reported that break-ins at businesses throughout Belleville increased last year by 2.8 per cent over 2012, though she cautioned that the increase was only three cases.