Potential changes to auxiliary police officers have communities determining the impact.
The RCMP are reviewing the national auxiliary program and the provincial government is also seeking input from municipalities.
“We’re waiting to hear where it will go,” said Greg McCune, Enderby mayor.
“If there is no service, it will definitely impact the community, but I understand the other side, the world is changing (security/liability).”
In January, the RCMP’s senior executive committee decided that auxiliaries would no longer ride along with regular officers.
Enderby’s lone auxiliary constable has not participated in ride-alongs for years but there is a concern that the new policy could prevent others from being in a police car if they volunteer.
The primary impact in Enderby has been a new policy that requires auxiliary constables in uniform to be under the supervision of a regular officer.
“This limits the kinds of activities and functions that an auxiliary officer may perform as it is dependent on the availability of regular members to accompany the auxiliary constable,” said Tate Bengtson, chief administrative officer, in a memo to council.
“This is detrimental to community programs which promote public health and safety and deprives the RCMP of a valuable resource which can engage with residents and businesses at community and school functions. Two of the RCMP’s strategic priorities involve youth and road safety. Both of these priorities are advanced through the work and dedication of auxiliary constables in conjunction with regular members.”
Enderby council has recognized Dale Fennell, who has been with the auxiliary constable program for 33 years.
“It was a totally unpaid position. It was quite a commitment on his part,” said McCune, adding that Fennell was unanimously presented with a lifetime civic merit award by council.
Among his duties were enforcement, patrols, Speed Watch and delivering safety and conflict resolution programs at local schools.
“Dale is a dedicated and deserving member of our community who has volunteered so much of his time over the last 33 years to the auxiliary constable program. He truly is a local hero.”