For the second year in a row, a Vancouver Police officer has been chosen as one of the world’s top 40 law enforcement professionals under the age of 40. Recipients of this prestigious award, given by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment to their profession.
Detective Constable Blake Chersinoff joined the Vancouver Police Department in 2008. Presently working in the Sex Crimes Unit, he has worked on patrol, as a neighbourhood community policing officer, and on several special projects.
In 2011, Blake was one of four liaison officers at the Occupy Vancouver encampment site. Working in and among over 100 tents and thousands of protestors, he became a familiar face, connecting and building relationships in a sensitive and political situation. Blake and his fellow officers received a Chief Constable’s Unit Citation for their work.
Detective Constable Chersinoff takes a collaborative approach to all of his police work, looking for proactive and practical ways to solve any challenges facing the community. As a neighbourhood police officer, he often patrolled on a mountain bike, which he felt made him more visible and approachable.
“I met people face-to-face and heard their concerns, and we worked together to solve the issues most important to them.”
With the growing fentanyl crisis in Vancouver, the lack of visible building addresses in Downtown Eastside laneways became a problem for first responders. Blake proposed the installation of high-visibility street signage where there was a concentration of overdoses. It allowed people to give emergency responders the exact location of overdose victims and to minimize the response time for help to arrive.
“Sometimes, it can be chaos in the lanes in that area,” says Detective Constable Chersinoff, “and people don’t always know where they are. It just makes sense to make it easier for help to arrive as quickly as possible.”
In 2015, Blake became aware of an increase in discarded needles in city streets and parks. In addition to the safety risk, he felt it led to a heightened fear of crime. Working with multiple agencies, including AIDS Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health, the Gathering Place Community Centre, Street Youth Job Action, and the City of Vancouver, Blake coordinated the installation of needle boxes and community clean-ups throughout the city. It made a clear and noticeable difference.
Inspired by the many community policing volunteers Blake worked with, he developed the iPatrol+ app for citizen volunteers. The app records the actions and observations of the volunteers while they are on patrol, valuable data for police officers to identify trends or areas of concern.
Detective Constable Chersinoff finds the time to volunteer as a board of director for the Roundhouse Community Centre. He recently led the fundraising committee, which raised $250,000 for the community theatre. He also volunteers for the VPD credit union as a member of the credit committee, reviewing and approving loan and credit applications.
Blake has received several awards, including the City of Vancouver – City Service Award for Innovation for his work on the iPatrol+ app. In 2017, he received the Borstal Association RJ Canuel Award of Excellence in Community Crime Prevention.
Blake is presently completing his bachelors of commerce degree.
“A career in law enforcement has given me a concrete way to make a positive difference in other people’s lives,” says Blake. “I chose a career where I could work with great people and make a difference.”