Community-level knowledge sought in new RCMP program

By Sarah Stone
January 29, 2014 - 11:31am

The Saskatchewan RCMP is looking to harness community-level knowledge.

Cpl. Natasha Szpakowski, who is in charge of the RCMP proactive recruiting unit for Saskatchewan, said the province has adopted a pilot recruiting program coming out of Ottawa.

“Saskatchewan did agree that is was a project that they would see worthwhile and so the commanding officer of Saskatchewan did commit to participating,” she said.

The Community Constable Program will hire people who want to be a peace officer within their current home area.

“It’s basically an opportunity for people who may be thought of being a police officer but who maybe are not in a position with a family or some other reason that they are not able to move across Canada,” she said.

And it’s not just the individual who will benefit, but the community and RCMP as well, Szpakowski added.

“One of the things we’ll be focusing on is somebody who already has the knowledge of the community that they live in, if there is any cultural diversity in that community that they would maybe have some links there. Same thing with if there was any languages spoken in that community, that they could play a bit of a liaison with our regular police officers.”

She said this is vital for the RCMP to provide good, dependable service. “Policing sometimes isn’t always just driving around, a lot of time it’s answering people’s questions and if there’s a language barrier then whatever we can do to get through that then the community constable would be a great asset in that regard.”

Qualifications for applying are similar to the regular member process, such as being a good character, having a valid driver’s licence and a Canadian citizen.

“Once they’ve gone through the whole process they’ll attend Depot and it’s a 21-week training program and they’ll learn about what will be required to do crime prevention in our communities, assisting our regular members and just providing a service to their communities that they’re posted in,” she explained.

The role of the peace officer will be very similar to a regular officer, “they will be armed, they will be uniformed and they will have certain rights that they can execute when they’re doing their job and mostly what the difference will be is mainly file work.”

She said the training will also be about three or four weeks shorter than the regular officer program.

More information will soon be available online or can be found by calling 306-780-5447.

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