January 09, 2014 - 2:41 PM
LUMBY - Efforts are underway to resurrect a Citizens On Patrol in Lumby and Cherryville, but it won’t happen without community support.
Lumby Cpl. Henry Proce says only one person has come forward since early December when police began seeking volunteers for the program. It’s been at least seven years since the area had a functioning Citizens on Patrol, he says.
“I think it would be a good idea for the community,” Proce says. “It’s always good to have an extra set of eyes and ears.”
The idea to return a Citizens On Patrol to Lumby and Cherryville came after a push from mayor and council, rural programs coordinator for the RCMP’s Safe Communities Unit Warren Smith says. The program has been successful in deterring and intercepting crime in other communities across the North Okanagan, and people wondered, why not in Lumby?
“One issue that takes place within the Lumby area especially along the Salmon Trail, is vandalism,” Smith says. “They’ve had (other) issues there too... before Christmas, there was a series of thefts from vehicles. With a program such as this, it allows the community to receive training and get a clear understanding of how they can assist the RCMP, and ultimately, the community.”
Becoming a Citizen Patrol doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s not as time consuming as one might think. Volunteers 19-years-old and over are required to complete an interview process, obtain an enhanced security clearance and participate in an eight hour training session. After that, volunteers can assist in a variety of ways and donate as much or as little time as they wish.
“If you can only come out for two hours that’s fantastic. It’s two more hours than we had before,” Smith says.
It may not be for everyone, but for those who choose to assist, the fulfillment far exceeds the investment of time.
“I think people do it for their own satisfaction in spotting a crime in process. I think the folks involved in it get a lot of satisfaction from helping out that little bit,” Proce says.
It’s a big help for police who can’t be everywhere at once, especially over long weekends when they need to patrol lakes and other areas a distance from downtown.
“Unfortunately, we live in a time that we don’t necessarily have the resources people would like us to have, to have a police officer on every corner, and that’s not always the solution anyway," Smith says. "(The program) is a way for the community to take ownership and hopefully make a difference.”
The Lumby RCMP detachment will be holding an information session at 7 p.m. January 22, at the Lumby Community Centre on Shields Avenue. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014