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Crime drives 30 years of volunteering to keep Vernon safe

Lyle Duffield, co-founder of Citizens on Patrol program, recognized for 30 years of volunteer service
Supt. Shawna Baher, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP (left), and Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming (right) present a certificate of appreciation to Vernon’s Lyle Duffield, who has volunteered his services with the local RCMP for 30 years. (City of Vernon photo)

Lyle Duffield had enough of coming to work in downtown Vernon Saturday mornings to find his business windows smashed. Or his signs ripped off.

Or, in one case, having his back door chainsawed to the point thieves could crawl under the door into his business, stay away from strategically placed alarm censors, and pilfer nearly $30,000 in electronic and stereo equipment.

Duffield, former owner of what was then called Kelly’s Electronics on 30th Avenue in 1993, wasn’t alone.

“I think Freddie (Freddie’s Records and Tapes, across the street) had three windows smashed in three weeks,” said Duffield, 74, fully retired. “People were upset with the vandalism happening. They talked about going vigilante.”

Cooler heads, however, would prevail. Duffield and other downtown business owners met with the RCMP and formed Citizens on Patrol, the “extra eyes and ears” for the constabulary, which still operates today.

Vernon city council formally recognized Duffield, who has provided an outstanding 30 years of dedicated service to his community as an RCMP volunteer, on Nov. 28.

“We are grateful for the generosity of his time and talents to help keep our community safer and for playing a vital role in supporting the daily efforts of our local police and community safety programs to make Vernon one of the great places,” said Mayor Victor Cumming.

Duffield was one of the original members of the first RCMP Volunteer Training Program which included the Citizens on Patrol. His contributions to the program over the years have been many, including captain, a trainer for new volunteers, and team lead for Quick Response Team.

“The time, energy, and effort he has volunteered in support of policing and public safety programs for over 30 years is truly amazing and we want to thank him for his commitment and dedication to the safety and betterment of our community,” said Supt. Shawna Baher.

Duffield still believes in Citizens on Patrol and in volunteering.

“I still enjoy it,” he said. “I do whatever is required. Sometimes I’ll go out three times in a month, or sometimes just once a month, but I always try to get out at least once a month.”

Duffield will have to make room at his home for his latest volunteering accolade.

In 2013, he was honoured as the Rotary Club Volunteer of the Year. Duffield has also been the Recipient of the Gordon Lider Memorial Award of Merit, which is given to a deserving volunteer for their overall contributions to creating a safer community, and honoured with the Jim Woytowich Memorial Award, which is given to a volunteer who has shown exemplary commitment towards making the Vernon RCMP Volunteer Program the best in B.C.

READ MORE: Volunteers wanted for Vernon Community Safety Unit

READ MORE: Volunteers make Vernon a safer place

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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