May 06, 2013 - 3:34 PM
While many B.C. communities are losing their local Crime Stoppers, the North Okanagan unit is standing strong.
Over the weekend, the unit was given three awards at a provincial conference held in Vancouver. The branch was presented with the Milestone award, based on the number of Crime Stoppers tips received.
"In 2012, through tips generated, our local RCMP seized $615,000 in drugs," president Roger Knox says.
Knox chalks a lot of the unit's success up to the coordinator, Gord Molendyk, who is also the spokesperson for the RCMP detachment.
Unbeknownst to Molendyk or his wife, the unit entered him in for the coordinator of the year award, and he won it.
A third award was presented to DCT Chambers Trucking Ltd. for corporate citizen of the year. David Chambers and his son Ryan worked with Crime Stoppers to plaster the organization's logo and phone number on their trucks.
"This (is) universal. Crime is something that affects every family, every person, every company in every community where we operate," David Chambers says.
A hundred units already have the logo on them, and signs for another 100 are on their way. The trucks travel across the province and into the U.S. as well.
"It's a universal number all across the province," Molendyk says. "No matter where they are, people will see it."
On his way down to the conference in Vancouver, Knox says he noticed eight DCT trucks, and five of them sported the logo.
As the North Okanagan unit continues to expand and strengthen, Molendyk says many branches are being forced to shut down. In the past year alone, he says as many as three have ceased operations. Now, there are just 25 active branches, where Molendyk says there used to be 40.
Molendyk says it's a combination of the volunteer base getting older, and funding growing difficult to obtain. Money goes to the phone service, run mostly out of Ontario, and to rewards for tips.
Money seized in searches and arrests gets funneled into a provincial government account, and branches like the North Okanagan can apply for a slice of the revenue. But it's not easy to get.
This year, along with 500 other applicants, the local branch made its pitch for the cash, but was turned down.
Applicants come from across the province in organizations ranging from transition houses to youth programs.
When government funding is unavailable, Molendyk says the unit goes door to door asking for donations.
"Occasionally we come with our hand out to keep our program going," Molendyk says.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013