'An eye out for anything that might look suspicious': Citizens group looking for volunteers
'Anyone who has an interest in keeping their community safe' is welcome
A group in Stratford, P.E.I., is looking for volunteers who can be an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement in the area.
Citizens on Patrol Stratford supports the RCMP who are the official law enforcement in the community. The group patrols on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., says Nicole Phillips, chair of the group.
"We basically pair up ... one will volunteer to drive and we tour around the community essentially visiting business areas, residential areas and we keep an eye out for anything that might look suspicious," she said.
If volunteers see anything concerning, they report it to the RCMP.
Hope to expand service
Right now, there are a dozen volunteers. With that number the group only has the ability to patrol on weekends. Phillips said with more, they may be able to expand their service.
"If we did have a surge and increase in volunteers we could potentially expand our coverage and do patrols during different times of the week. So, you know, we certainly wouldn't turn anyone away," she said.
Right now, the group is a mix of ages. Some members also have a background in a law enforcement or military, Phillips said, but that's not required.
"It is anyone who has an interest in keeping their community safe," she said.
Phillips said anyone over 18 can volunteer with the group, but will have to go through a criminal record check and go on at least two patrols with experienced volunteers.
'Sense of contribution'
Phillips warns patrolling may not be as exciting as some expect.
"We are fortunate to live in a very safe community and we are well policed by the RCMP, but what it does do is give that sense of contribution," she said.
However, some patrolling has definitely helped out law enforcement.
"There have been a few situations where we have noticed things and reported them that have eventually resulted in RCMP following up," Phillips said.
Phillips notes the new emergency services facility in Stratford has space for Citizens on Patrol, which she said is great because it can be accessed at any time for equipment.
Anyone interested in volunteering can find the information on the town's website.
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With files from Angela Walker