Feds trim RCMP volunteer cops’ duties

Canada's 1,600-member auxiliary constable program — Surrey has 80 — will no longer ride with regular officers

Photo of RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program posted to the RCMP's website.

SURREY — Changes to the national RCMP auxiliary constable program be felt more in Surrey, Canada’s largest detachment, than anywhere else in the country.

At a time when the public is calling for more police to help fight crime in this city roughly 80 volunteer officers — the largest contingent of roughly 1,600 auxiliaries across Canada — learned this week from RCMP headquarters in Ottawa that they will no longer be able to ride with Mounties, receive firearms familiarizing training, and that their uniforms will be changed to better distinguish them from regular officers.

This comes after a year-long review following the fatal January 2015 shooting of Const. David Wynn at a casino outside Edmonton. Auxiliary Const. David Bond, a volunteer police officer since 2008, was also injured.

Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy said the auxiliary program has not been shut down.

“The Surrey RCMP has always maintained that our auxiliary constables play an important role in our community in crime prevention and community engagement and we fully committed to having this vital role continue in our community,” Fordy told the Now.

Fordy noted the auxiliary constables are unarmed volunteers “whose primary purpose is to participate in community policing services such as community engagement and crime prevention.”

But because they are unarmed and work alongside Mounties, he added, “the potential for danger exists.

“Incidents where uniformed officers have been randomly targeted, along with the shooting of an auxiliary constable in Alberta  last year, demonstrated the need for increased vigilance,” Fordy said. “For this reason the RCMP has discontinued the ride along component nationally for the auxiliary officers — I support this approach.”

Cpl. Janelle Shoihet, a spokeswoman for RCMP “E” Division, said the auxiliary constables will continue to perform crime prevention, community engagement and other duties and “considerations are being made to uniform changes, as we recognize that they may be identified as a police officer while on duty in uniform, which puts them at risk of harm.

“When auxiliary constables are in uniform they will need to be accompanied by a regular member who is equipped with intervention options,” Shoihet added.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Community invited to help with Downtown Surrey BIA’s fence art project

Association is hoping to change the ‘narrative’ for 135A Street with artwork

‘Kim’s Convenience’ keeps Surrey actor busy when not working as church pastor in Guildford

Award-nominated James Yi will again play shop owner at Surrey Arts Centre next winter

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in South Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Hazmat team called to Surrey recycling centre

Witness at scene said several workers reported affects including coughing, headaches and chest tightness

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

Langley organizers invite special guest to Gone Country

Cancer fundraising, day-long concert sold out more than a month and a half ahead of Saturday’s event

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes near Agassiz

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read