The commitment is small and the payoffs are large.
That statement sums up how volunteers with Salmon Arm Citizens Patrol describe their work.
Along with acting as the eyes and ears of the police, Citizens Patrol provides many community services.
One of the most fun activities is Salmon Arm’s Friendship Day Soapbox Derby, smiles past-president Paula Weir.
For the event that involves soap boxes racing down Hudson between the Salmar Grand and Shuswap Theatre, the volunteers bring their speed reader boards so kids can see how fast their soapboxes are going.
Other events where they provide help when needed include the Coldest Night of the Year walk, Dry Grad, Canada Day activities, Roots and Blues Festival, Fall Fair, Spooktacular, Downtown Treat Trail, Remembrance Day, Winter Fest and CP Holiday Train.
The volunteers also set up their speed boards along different routes at different times, such as around schools. Information is compiled on spread sheets to send to the RCMP and city hall such as the types of vehicles using the road and which ones were speeding.
Volunteer Mike Saul said Citizens Patrol also checks schools on weekends to show a presence.
Vice-president Liz Ellis said the volunteers give RCMP stickers to young people at the skate park who are wearing helmets, which they like.
Volunteer Denise Thompson enjoys it when people engage with them.
“They say thank you for keeping everyone safe.”
Volunteers also check public playgrounds and washrooms to make sure they’re safe.
When someone was damaging the bird boxes at the Foreshore Trail, Citizens Patrol members walked down there regularly to deter damage.
Dry Grad is another place the volunteers go, patrolling the parking lot and staffing the doors where the party is held.
At any given time in B.C., about 2,800 vehicles are missing, the volunteers say. Citizens’ Patrol is given a database of the stolen vehicles and their licence plates, so if they spot one, they alert the RCMP.
Thompson, who has been a member of Citizens Patrol for only a year, said she joined as she was new to the community and wanted to give back. She has no regrets and recommends the job.
“It’s a really good group of people. We’re all like-minded citizens, wanting to help the community and be involved.”
To volunteer for Salmon Arm Citizens Patrol, you can be anywhere from 19 to 85 in age. The commitment is four hours per month, plus helping with some community events. Shifts can be weekends or weekdays, usually during the daytime. Everyone gets a yellow Citizens Patrol jacket and a hat, if wanted.
To learn more or to apply, go to www.salmonarmcitizenspatrol.ca – or ask the person wearing a yellow Citzens Patrol jacket if you see them out and about.
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