LETTER: A tribute to the RCMP Auxiliary Program: An end that shouldn’t be | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Kelowna News

LETTER: A tribute to the RCMP Auxiliary Program: An end that shouldn’t be

 


OPINION


To the Editor:

Since 1963, the RCMP Auxiliary program has been a deeply respected program that allowed highly trained and dedicated volunteers to make their communities safer. Each year, Auxiliary officers in Canada contributed tens of thousands of hours of time and effort while on duty. For 15 years, I proudly wore the insignia of an Auxiliary Officer in Kamloops along with up to 40 other amazing people, and it was a chapter of my life that I remember with a profound sense of fulfillment. Unfortunately, due to a changing political climate and the transforming face of crime, the Auxiliary program in Canada has all but ended.

The RCMP Auxiliary Program stood as a beacon of community involvement, an invaluable tool in fostering connections between law enforcement and the communities they served. It allowed willing citizens to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with regular members of the force, experiencing first-hand the realities of law enforcement and, in turn, acting as a bridge between the RCMP and the broader public.

The program’s strength lies in its ability to create a shared sense of responsibility toward community safety. As Auxiliary Officers, my peers and I had the privilege to engage directly with the community, helping to organize safety events, participating in local parades, assisting in search and rescue efforts, and providing an extra set of eyes and ears to the force during regular patrols. We were called the “Ultimate Volunteer,” a designation we held with great pride.

The Auxiliary program was more than a supplementary element of law enforcement—it was a vessel of community bonding, communication, and collaboration. Its benefits to the community were diverse, creating safer, more connected, and harmonious neighbourhoods. It allowed ordinary citizens to step up and participate directly in maintaining the safety of their communities, turning the concept of public safety into a shared goal rather than a one-sided endeavour.

I proudly recall the countless times an Auxiliary officer was able to diffuse tense situations, locate missing persons, provide an empathetic ear to a distressed citizen, or offer comfort during times of crisis. My fellow Auxiliary members are some of the most caring, supportive and compassionate people I have ever met.

While one chapter of the Auxiliary program closes, there is a glimmer of promise that it may be resurrected. I hope that the decision-makers can establish an equivalent initiative that fosters the same sense of mutual respect and understanding between law enforcement and the public.

My heartfelt thanks to the RCMP and the community for allowing me to serve as an Auxiliary Officer. It was a journey filled with rich experiences that made me a better citizen. I am proud of what we accomplished as a team, and I am optimistic that the spirit of the Auxiliary Program will live on in whatever form the future holds.

— Chris Mitra, Kamloops


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