Citizens On Patrol welcoming volunteers

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
Claresholm and District Citizens On Patrol is looking for volunteers.
They held an information session at the Journeys Centre on Tuesday, March 5, where half a dozen people came out to hear Pam Gilchrist of Citizens On Patrol talk about what her organization does.
Essentially, Citizens on Patrol drive around town and report any suspicious activity they see, acting as an extra set of eyes for the Claresholm RCMP.
Volunteers work in pairs in four-hour shifts, patrolling Claresholm as well as the airport and Stavely.
If they see something, they do not interact with anyone or anything they see. Instead, they stay at a safe distance and call it in to the police.
“We don’t get involved in anything,” said Gilchrist. “We call the authorities.”
“We do not become part of a crime scene,” she later added.
Citizens On Patrol use their own vehicles, so they must ensure they are properly insured. Volunteers are given decals to put on their vehicles to identify they are Citizen On Patrol, and gas cards to help with the cost of fuel.
They also receive other equipment, including a flashlight and a jacket or vest that identifies them as Citizens On Patrol.
They will be adding campgrounds to their list in the summer.
“So we’re going to be needing more volunteers,” said Gilchrist. “Even if you give us a hour a month.
“We’ll take any amount (of time) you want to give.”
Another activity Citizens On Patrol does is “lock it or lose it” events.
Their last one was on Feb. 19, where they checked out the parked vehicles in the downtown parking lot and left behind a notice.
They discovered 22 with no issue; four with doors open; three were reminded their registration was expiring; all were checked to see if their registration stickers were missing; one vehicle was unlocked; five vehicles had valuable possessions or money in plain view.
The process to become involved starts by filling out an application form, available at the Claresholm detachment of the RCMP.
The application includes consent for a criminal record check or background check; a code of patrol conduct; a declaration of confidentiality; and other items.
Anyone interested in more information can contact Pam Gilchrist at 403-4899737 or by e-mail at (no dashes or spaces).