Night Owls COP look for volunteers in Tri-Region
By Mamta Lulla
You can sleep in peace knowing that Night Owls C.O.P members in the Tri-Region are doing their job.
Night Owls Citizens on Patrol Society or C.O.P operate in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, Alberta Beach and Wabamum. Volunteers conduct community patrols to keep an extra set of eyes along with the RCMP.Candy Hurst, Night Owls Citizens on Patrol Society president, said currently the organization has more than 30 volunteers who go out and patrol in pairs.
But Hurst is looking to increase the number of volunteers. She said she would like about 50 patrollers by the end of 2018.
“We’re a pro-active crime prevention group, and we keep an eye out for crime or potential crime,” she said.
With a memorandum of understanding with the RCMP, the organization that started in July 2016, works in partnership with the police.
The organization reports criminal activities or potential crime to the RCMP.
Volunteers receive citizens on patrol training as well as training with the RCMP and are required to get a criminal record check.
Volunteers are expected to patrol their respective communities about four hours a month. Hurst said they can make their own schedules.
Speaking of crime, Hurst said, vehicle theft is up in all of Alberta.
“Cars are left running, if they are left unlocked they are broken into,” she said.
While providing a recent example, of the type of work patrollers, do, Hurst said, recently patrollers saw someone looking into cars and through the windows in Stony Plain.
“So patrollers called the RCMP so now they know what’s happening, so they will be patrolling that area a little bit more,” said Hurst.
Hurst encourages people to apply as volunteers to keep communities safe.
“Our presence makes a difference we believe,” she said.
She said volunteers will learn observation skills and how to patrol from what to do when you find some kind of crime in progress, how to report or interact with the RCMP, and these skills will be helpful to people for life.
“Once you get observatory training, you’re always looking, doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing – you’re always looking,” she said.
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