Keremeos’ Citizens on Patrol program is putting out a 911 call for recruits.
The neighbourhood watch program is generally well received and respected in the community, but no one seems to want to get involved, said spokesperson Mike Favel recently.
“People think it’s a great organization, providing an extra set of eyes and ears for the police,” he said, “but it’s getting more and more difficult to get people to join.”
Favel said the present COPS contingent consists of six participants, all of whom are seniors.
“It’s a tough sell,” he admits, noting the 10 p.m to 2 a.m. patrol times.
Favel said if enough residents could be recruited, the work load for a participant wouldn’t amount to much.
“If we can get sufficient numbers,” he said, “members would only have to do one tour of duty every five weeks, in addition to one meeting a month.”
Participants need a vehicle to do the volunteer work. COPs will pay for a $25 gas voucher for each outing. Members sometimes have access to a police radio, but otherwise would call police dispatch on their cell phones, should the need arise.
Citizens on Patrol assist the police by watching for suspicious activity on the street. They also help with security in the community by observing residents homes and noting garage doors left open, vehicle headlights left on, etc.
“Their mission is to ovserve and report,” Favel said, “they aren’t expected to get out of the car.” In recent years, COPS has offered a drive home service to everyone from barhoppers to private partiers, and the rodeo, something Favel said the organization is receiving an increasing number of calls about.
“Again, if we can boost our numbers just a little, it will make a big difference,” Favel said. “It’s the little things that help keep communities safe. WIth a bit more participation, it won’t involve a lot of work for anyone.”
Residents interested in the program should contact the RCMP at:250-499-5511. A criminal record check is necessary.