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RCMP Reconsidering Auxiliary options

Oct 18 2016 VICTORIA - After considerable backlash, Mountie headquarters in Ottawa is taking another look at its decision to pull auxiliary officers away from the sharp end of policing. The force is asking municipalities for their opinion on three options for the auxiliary program, ...


October 20, 2016
By Corrie Sloot

Oct 18 2016

VICTORIA – After considerable backlash, Mountie headquarters in Ottawa is taking another look at its decision to pull auxiliary officers away from the sharp end of policing.

The force is asking municipalities for their opinion on three options for the auxiliary program, one of which would let them go back to doing much of what they did before.

Auxiliaries – trained volunteers – have been part of the RCMP in B.C. for half a century. About 700 of them are scattered around 67 detachments in the province. Mostly they do community work – traffic control at the parade, crime-prevention stuff with local residents, that sort of thing.

Some auxiliaries could also, until recently, be found closer to the front lines. Working in uniform but without firearms, they would accompany regular members on patrol. For municipal governments, auxiliaries also provided a (cheap) way to mitigate the Mounties’ chronic understaffing problems.

For some volunteers, the front-line role was, frankly, the part of the job that kept them stimulated. It could also be a stepping stone to full-time police work, a way for prospective cops and their employers to take each other for a test drive.

The change blindsided communities that worried the new rules would hurt events – parades, fairs – that rely on the volunteers. In Alberta, Postmedia News reported that the policy change left hundreds of willing auxiliaries sitting on their hands while the RCMP flew in regular members from as far away as Newfoundland to direct traffic and ferry officials during the Fort McMurray fires.

Now, municipalities are being asked for their thoughts on three options.

The first option is the status quo: auxiliaries would remain uniformed peace officers, but not do ride-alongs or patrols.

The second would restrict them to a community role only – crime-prevention, safety education – and take away their peace-officer status and dress them in civilian uniforms.

The third option offers three tiers of duties, each with is own training requirements.

Those in the first tier would do the community job described in option two. Those in the second tier would also do traffic- and crowd-control duties, go on foot and bike patrols, and have peace-officer status, wearing a police uniform.

Those in tier three would also ride in cars with regular members and work at traffic stops, that sort of thing, though with a midnight curfew.

Even as the RCMP auxiliaries have been pulled back, their municipal counterparts, known as reserves, continue to go on ride-alongs with regular members in Victoria and Saanich.

(Victoria Times Colonist)


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