The Ladysmith Citizens on Patrol will be cruising the streets in a new ride after the Town of Ladysmith re-allocated $11,000 from the RCMP Ladysmith Detachment operating budget to purchase a patrol vehicle.
The funds come courtesy of a current vacancy in the local RCMP’s staffing complement.
The vehicle, a used 2008 Chevrolet Uplander, replaces a similar vehicle formerly leased to the Citizens on Patrol, however that lease ended earlier this year.
The move will not only provide a reliable vehicle for members to do their patrols, but also increase their presence in the community and provide a safe place for Speed Watch equipment.
“We need this vehicle properly marked for a number of reasons; the ability of our citizens to identify who we are… unidentified vehicles can give the wrong impression, for example, if we stop and ask a citizen if they are okay, in our own cars, they’d think twice about who they’re talking to,” said member Gus Armstrong.
“The anxiety level of citizens, we wish to lower and show that along with the RCMP we are on the streets, out there on their behalf day or night.”
Armstrong said the vehicle will also help with recruitment, as the organization continues to struggle with maintaining volunteer minimums.
There are currently 26 COP volunteers, four of those inactive. Volunteers are normally asked to take on one shift per month but due to the shortage some are taking on two to three shifts, Armstrong said.
In addition to patrolling and reporting untoward activities to the RCMP, the Citizens on Patrol also conduct at least two Speed Watch patrols per week.
“The volunteers that make up our Citizens on Patrol provide a valuable service to our community,” said mayor Rob Hutchins.
“Additional eyes and ears that complement our RCMP services and help make our community a safer place. They play a key role in harm reduction.”