Citizens on Patrol veteran Gerry Stewart, right, joins new recruit Nicole Vermette and Niyas Kurudamparambil Yoonus on the new daytime Business Watch foot patrols on Third Avenue. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

COPS stepping up foot patrols in Port Alberni’s hot spots

Volunteers will ‘observe, record, report’ anything suspicious to RCMP

The Port Alberni RCMP have launched an extension to the volunteer program Business Watch performed by the Citizens On Patrol (C.O.P.S.) volunteers. They’ve added high-visibility day patrols during business hours, seven days a week.

“The RCMP have heard from the community over the past few months their concerns about rising crime rates. While there is no simple solution, this is one way the RCMP and community can jointly address some of these issues immediately,” RCMP Community Policing Officer Cpl. Amelia Hayden said.

“This is not a short-term initiative, it will continue through the long term,” she said. “It is important to note these patrols are not focused solely on the uptown area. There are many areas within the city that could use many eyes and ears.”

The Port Alberni RCMP Community Policing volunteers will be on active foot patrols in areas throughout the City of Port Alberni. Their role is as observers and reporters of suspicious and criminal activity that they may observe, Hayden said. The Citizens On Patrol volunteers will be highly visible in their yellow uniforms while working in teams doing patrols during business hours any day of the week.

Three volunteers, including new recruit Nicole Vermette, five-year veteran Gerry Stewart and eight-month volunteer Niyas Kurudamparambil Yoonus strolled along Third Avenue last Thursday, on one of Vermette’s first official Business Watch patrols.

“In two weeks I’ve probably put in 15 hours between training and everything else,” Vermette said. She is in the application process to join the RCMP and signed on with C.O.P.S. to gain experience. She joined the Business Watch patrols to show more volunteer presence to businesses and residents. “I hope the visibility deters crime,” she said.

Yoonus has been living in the Alberni Valley for eight months and although he is working at Subway now, he is planning a career in law enforcement. “I was new to this town…and only knew people from Subway,” he said, so he joined C.O.P.S. to meet new people. “I am not a citizen (of Canada) right now; I need more time and when I checked online, this was the best way to start.”

Stewart has participated in nighttime Business Watch patrols, where volunteers go by businesses at night checking doors to make sure they are locked and that nothing is happening that shouldn’t be. “It was decided by the RCMP that we needed an extra presence up here (Uptown). They talked to C.O.P.S. to see if there was any interest in helping out the city by creating more visibility for businesses around town,” he said.

Hayden stressed that these individuals are volunteers and not police officers.

“They are concerned citizens of Port Alberni volunteering their time to give back to the community. Given they are volunteers and in the interest of their safety, they will be following the Observe, Record and Report protocol whenever they should encounter a suspicious activity or activity involving potential conflict.

“Their role is not to engage, rather to be a visible presence and to report any findings or observations that they encounter during the course of their patrol to the appropriate resource. The public is reminded to call police directly when they need policing services or should they witness a suspicious or criminal activity.”

These selected volunteers have undergone training specific to their duties relating to the high visibility foot patrols and will be under the sole direction of the RCMP in terms of patrol areas as they are deployed to areas throughout the city, she said.

For those who would like to be part of the solution and help the community through volunteering with community policing programs, please contact the Community Policing Office at the Harbour Quay or 778-421-3578, or Cpl. Amelia Hayden at 250-724-8908.

Volunteers are required to go through an application process that involves a Police Information Check and an interview prior to being accepted.

 

Port Alberni RCMP Cpl. Amelia Hayden, second from right, Citizen on Patrol veteran Gerry Stewart, right, Niyas Kurudamparambil Yoonus, left, and new recruit Nicole Vermette walk one of the new Business Watch daytime foot patrols on Third Avenue, last Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

Alberni Valley schools celebrate First Nations culture

First Nations Spring Festival hosted by SD70 and NTC

Celebrate with Cycle Alberni for Bike to Work and School Week

Celebration stations kick off at Jumping Slug Community Cyclery

Two Alberni Valley hockey players win bronze at NAHC finals

Team BC male awarded a bronze medal after controversial decision

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Port Alberni to hold Walk for Dog Guides on May 26

Fundraising event one of 300 across Canada

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read