Currently the Diamond Valley Citizens on Patrol has 10 members but they hope to greatly increase the membership and thus be able to provide more patrols in both towns. The main function of C.O.P. members is to be extra eyes for our local law enforcement. Working closely with the Turner Valley RCMP the group will only observe and report any suspicious activity. Members are never to approach a suspect; as a matter of fact they are not to get out of their vehicles. Also patrollers will always travel in pairs.
When out of patrol the members have a kit containing vests, ID, forms, flashlights, etc. Another important piece of equipment is your cellphone. Members never patrol the rural areas so cellphone service is always available. A dashcam can also supply needed evidence when they spot suspicious activity. There is a chance that members could be called to testify in court if their observations lead to the arrest of a suspect. All members must sign in with the RCMP so they are aware of who is on patrol on any given night.
Businesses will be approached by the C.O.P. to let them know who they are and that they will be part of the patrol area. Special cards are being developed and will be left to let a business owner know that a member of the C.O.P. checked on their business the night before. Business owners can help out this group by supplying a place to display a poster or business cards.
Since members receive no funding and all are volunteers the need for donations and fundraising will be next on the agenda. This is another way our local business community can assist C.O.P. – with donations to aid in upcoming fundraisers. The Diamond Valley C.O.P. has applied for a Society number and that is expected to arrive any day now. There is also the need for more members. Anyone interested must be over 18 with a clean driving record and must pass a police check (this is performed by the RCMP and is free).
Not to be confused with Block Parents, C.O.P.s patrol neighbourhoods; Block Parents provide a safe place for children to retreat to. C.O.P. are happy to work together with Block Parents when children are in need of assistance. Currently members are only able to patrol on weekends (midnight to 4am) but once more people join they should be able to extend their patrol to seven days a week.
Another service that C.O.P. perform is extra help during community events. Everything from Diamond-Valley Days to high school graduations. Wherever a large number of people gather there is a need for extra vigilance.
The members currently meet the first Thursdays of the month at 7pm at the Griffiths Centre in Black Diamond (for now they have been meeting every other month but expect to meet monthly once they receive their Society designation). There is a full board right now and they are expected to serve a term of two years each. If you are interested in joining the Diamond Valley C.O.P. (or want more information) you can call their Vice-president Loral Luchia at 403-993-2050 or email [email protected]
Watch for an announcement of an upcoming meeting with the C.O.P. so you can learn more about this dedicated new group of volunteers and there will be recruitment forms there so you can consider joining up. Thank you to President Yvonne Machan, Loral and all the current members for stepping up and re-launching this important service!