Alberni community policing office re-opens

More than 30 people including civic and police officials attended the grand opening of the Community Policing office at its new Harbour Quay digs on Wednesday morning.

Tseshaht tribe member Irma Robinson

Tseshaht tribe member Irma Robinson

Re-connecting with the community and providing crime prevention information are just some of the benefits to re-opening the Community Policing office at Harbour Quay.

More than 30 people including civic and police officials attended the grand opening of the office at its new digs on Wednesday morning.

The 250 square foot office is located in the quay’s Spirit Square. The office will be open six days a week, and will serve as a clearing house of crime prevention information and a neutral place to report incidents to police.

Office volunteers will carry out crime prevention initiatives such as Citizens on Patrol and Speed Watch. The local Crimestoppers project will now be run out of the new office. RCMP Cpl. Jen Allan will be in charge of the office.

The former community policing office on Third Avenue was closed in 2009 due to budget cuts.

RCMP Insp. Gord Wellar singled out Cpl. Dennis Sauve and volunteer Jerry Fagan for keeping the concept alive and lobby for new space.

“It wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for them,” Wellar said of the new office.

The police can’t do everything alone and a community policing office serves as a vital link between the police and the public, Wellar said. The effects of community policing are cumulative and you don’t readily notice them on a day-to-day basis. But “Community policing took a real hit here,” Wellar said about the closure of the former office.

Community police volunteers engage the public, something the complexity of police life can interfere with. “One minute you’re ticketing people for something and the next minute you’re asking for assistance with something,” Wellar said.

Crime reduction is one thing but it’s conjoined with a crime prevention strategy, something the community needs. “We’re going to catch up,” Wellar said.

The re-opening of the office was a welcome sight to long time community policing volunteer Jerry Fagan. “It’s something we’ve worked on since the old office was closed,” he said.

The office has volunteers but could use a few more, Fagan said. Those interested can call 778-421-3578.

reporter@alberrnivalleynews.com

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