Local cop walks the beat old style

Penticton RCMP Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth speaks with prospective volunteers Glenn and Annie Haberlack in front of the RCMP's downtown policing office.

PENTICTON - Penticton RCMP Corporal Don Wrigglesworth is common sight on Penticton city streets these days.

But he’s a rare sight as well.

Wrigglesworth is the city’s full-time community policing corporal, and in taking on the job has brought some good old-fashioned tradition to Penticton’s police force.

Wrigglesworth is a rare sight because he is a cop that walks  — yes, walks — a regular beat through the city’s downtown and lakeside area.

“Superintendent Hewco approached me last fall. He was receiving input from the city they wanted a more visible police presence. He’s a firm believer in ‘feet on the street,’ and I was the only one walking a beat regularly,” Wrigglesworth explained.

Wrigglesworth, for his part, is happy and comfortable in the position. He began walking patrols while working as watch commander,

“There’s a lot to look after in that position. Getting out of headquarters and walking a beat was stress relief to me,” he said.

Residents and merchants are getting used to seeing Wrigglesworth on his daily foot patrols.

“They’re stopping me in the street, and saying, 'this is great'. One guy driving down the street stopped me and asked what I was doing. He thought it was awesome - that’s a common response. A lot of people know me by first name.”

Wrigglesworth said the new, old form of policing has had one drawback, as he pulled a recent purchase out of his pocket,

"I don’t have a budget for this,” he said, laughing.

“People also ask me if I’m losing weight,” he added.

Wrigglesworth is currently heading up a campaign to recruit volunteers for the RCMP to help with auxiliary work like COPS,  the Auxiliary Constable Program, SpeedWatch and others.

“I see a value in volunteers being linked to the RCMP. It’s important to have that cooperative contact with the public, and it allows people to involve themselves in police work.”

Wrigglesworth said he would not be dictating to volunteers how much time they can give, saying his role was to provide guidelines and tools.

Volunteers must be 16 years of age, and meet certain requirements, including not having a criminal record.

To apply, volunteers are asked to contact the Penticton RCMP Detachment at 250-492-4300, the Penticton RCMP Community Policing Office, located at 185 Lakeshore Drive (next to to the peach) or the Downtown Penticton Association at 250-493-8540.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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