Citizens program needs members

The RCMP Citizens Patrol (COP) program is recruiting now to train new volunteer candidates in the classroom Feb. 18 to 20 in Vernon.

The RCMP Citizens Patrol (COP) program is recruiting now to train new volunteer candidates in the classroom Feb. 18 to 20 in Vernon.

For more than 20 years, this community-based volunteer group has helped to minimize the amount of crime occurring throughout Vernon.

“COP volunteers are extra eyes and ears for the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP,” said Regan Borisenko, crime prevention co-ordinator with the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Safe Communities Unit.

“The program provides a valuable crime prevention service to our community.”

In 2013, with a membership of 61, the COP group:

n Volunteered more than 4,328 hours patrolling, training, and special events;

n Worked 253 patrol shifts, 73 speed-watch operations and 13 cell-watch operations;

n Patrolled more than 27,500 kilometres in the City of Vernon;

n Checked 33,000 license plates to determine if they were stolen; and

n Were responsible for the recovery of five stolen vehicles and three stolen plates.

“COP is a great way to volunteer your time and be a positive member of your community,” said Borisenko.

Duties involve patrolling streets, business areas and parks, as well as reporting and recording suspicious activities.

Volunteers are also responsible for the Speed Watch and Cell Watch programs.

“Being a proactive member of the community and assisting police is the No. 1 duty of Citizens Patrol,” said Borisenko.

The age of volunteers in the current group varies from 20 to 80 years. In preparation for training, these volunteers will undergo interviews covering security and program interests.

Training involves developing patrol skills, note-taking, court processes, working with partner agencies such as the RCMP, bylaws department and ICBC, observations skills and incident report writing just to name a few.

After their classroom training, the new volunteers complete six patrols with experienced volunteers who mentor them on aspects of the program.

Interested parties can contact Borisenko at 250-550-7847 or rborisenko@vernon.ca to complete an application at city hall and confirm an interview time.