The Cold Lake RCMP held an open house on Wednesday of last week, hosted by the City of Cold Lake. One of the major concerns brought up by the public in attendance, was rural theft and the increasing number vigilantes or citizens involving themselves in an attempt to stop a crime. To help address both concerns and reduce or eliminate vigilantism, the Cold Lake RCMP have agreed to look into a Citizens on Patrol program and to bring back information for the public.
“The Citizens on Patrol, that topic has come up with the MD of Bonnyville,” says S/Sgt Jeremie Landry, of the Cold Lake RCMP Detachment, “basically, that is a provincial program. How the RCMP would assist there, is we would designate a liaison officer, that would be a liaison with the group. The RCMP would commit to partnering with Citizens on Patrol; but they look after themselves, as far as [the organization].” For example, the group would have its own chair person that would look after training, schedules and keeping the group organized. “That’s definitely an option and there are a lot of resources and how tos to get that started,” says S/Sgt Landry.
By starting a formal group, S/Sgt Landry explains there is a lot of support through the Citizens on Patrol, provincially, “you’ll also get more consistency. You’ll get subject matter experts, in that area, that can help the group start up and give them the resources.” To get started the group has to be in partnership with the RCMP.
Mayor for the City of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland says that out of the open house, commitments were made to initiate the program, “we’ve committed to trying to contact the people, in Alberta, that put on the community policing program. We’ll get the person(s) to come out and make a presentation on the program.” The presentation will be well advertised, assures Mayor Copeland. “The association will give a presentation, with the idea that a few people from the public would volunteer to run the chapter in Cold Lake.” Further, the RCMP has promised a constable to work as the liaison to the group, should it get started.