Recent History – 2003
March 25, 2003, By Kelly Harris, Daily News Staff
Dawson Creek RCMP are looking at reintroducing auxiliary police to the city after the program was hand-cuffed when the officers had their side arms taken away.
Detachment Sgt. Terry Wild said the program saw a “mass exodus” when officers had their side arms taken away. He is hoping a reintroduction of the program will be met with success.
“When the firearms went (auxiliary police) went with them,” Wild said. “It’s since re-vamped itself well in other centers.
“It is a good program and it could work excellent here.”
Wild told city council Monday that he is confident that people would be interested in joining the program and that not having side arms would be no big deal.
“It would be for me,” replied a skeptical Coun. Alvin Stedel. “If somebody is shooting at me I’m going to want to be able to shoot back or run and I can’t run.”
Stedel later said he was a proponent of auxiliary policing and proposed a motion that supported the RCMP position.
When he was informed it is the RCMP’s position that auxiliary police not have side arms, he pulled his motion.
“To me if they don’t have arms they don’t have value at all,” he said. “They’re just another spy.”
Coun. Bud Powell pointed out that Bobbies in London, England don’t have guns.
“I haven’t been there,” Stedel replied. “I’m scared to go.”
Following council Wild told the Daily News that auxiliary officers receive hand-to-hand combat training, baton training and pepper spray training. In addition the volunteer officers receive 100 hours of classroom time.
Wild is hoping to speak to RCMP ÔE’ Division about the cost of the officers to the municipality. He would then gauge community support and interest for the program to see if it is viable.
The positions are unpaid and require that volunteers have no criminal record and are of good standing in the community.
Auxiliary officers must always be under the direct supervision of an RCMP member. They can be used in limited enforcement roles Ð 30 per cent of their time.
Such enforcement roles could include working check-stops alongside sworn members.
The rest of the time, 70 per cent, would be used to assist the detachment in non-enforcement roles. These could be door-to-door initiatives to update after hours contacts at local businesses or working in crime prevention roles.
One of the benefits in having auxiliary officers is safety in numbers and more police available on the street, Wild said. An auxiliary officer could be used alongside bike patrols or on a ride-along with sworn members.
“It frees up another member from being on the road,” Wild said. “Or on a bike by themselves.”
Wild hopes to have the volunteer officers on the street by summer 2004.
This article is taken from the Peace River Block Daily News, Dawson Creek, with the permission of the publisher. The Daily News retains all rights relating to this material. The information in this article is intended solely for research or general interest purposes.