Citizens on Patrol taking to Red Deer’s streets in July

Citizens on Patrol will be back on the streets of Red Deer in July. In 2004, the group disbanded due to low participation. In February, it was revived with a new executive and 17 volunteer members.

Citizens on Patrol will be back on the streets of Red Deer in July.

In 2004, the group disbanded due to low participation. In February, it was revived with a new executive and 17 volunteer members.

Since then, membership has grown to about 30 people. They started their five-week training last week.

President Troy Ropchan said 30 is a good size.

“We would like to hit 80 people by the end of the year. But to start off with, 30 is pretty good number,” Ropchan said.

Applications are still available at the Red Deer City RCMP detachment and if people turn them in within the next two weeks, they could also be trained to patrol this summer.

Volunteers will work in pairs, patrolling the city in their own vehicles for a minimum of four hours a month. They will be on the lookout for suspicious and criminal behaviour.

RCMP Const. Jody Young, who is working with the new patrol, was a volunteer with Red Deer’s former Citizens on Patrol before she joined the RCMP. She wants to focus on keeping the interest high among the new membership.

“One of the things we’re working on is keeping communication open between the group and the detachment and as we go along, provide additional training,” Young said.

Right now, volunteers are learning the basics like policies and procedures for patrolling, safety, reporting, and statement writing. They must successfully complete the training and pass security screening.

Volunteers must also be at least 18-years-old, with no criminal record.

Young said it’s all about being extra “eyes and ears” for the police to help reduce crimes like vehicle theft, impaired driving, vandalism and break-ins.

They may also be called on to assist RCMP with activities like missing-person searches.

Young said it’s hard to measure the impact of patrols, just like it’s difficult to know how many children don’t do drugs after an anti-drug presentation. But it does have an impact.

“Any kind of crime prevention initiative always results in us having less crime. It is always beneficial to a community.”

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