Sometimes it’s hard to see the police as anything but enforcers and that is why they work so hard in 100 Mile House to make their presence known at community events and functions to keep up on public relations and help in a way that doesn’t require actual policing, such as Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School’s (PSO) Jail and Bail event on April 20.
“Over the past few decades really, the RCMP really has focused on trying to become more of a community-oriented police organization, not so much a reactive police force where we would just go out to the calls, deal with the call and go back to our office and write it up,” said Const. Matt Young.
He said having a relationship with the community is so important to both an investigating and policing and that by taking more time to be involved with social issues, like mental health, it creates a better relationship with the community.
“Frankly, it just creates a much more pleasant work environment for us as well as a more approachable person for the public to come to us, not seeing us as just some enforcement body,” said Young.
Some of the other events the police take on are hanging out during the 100 Mile House Wranglers games during hockey season, trying to involve themselves and/or help organize the Christmas parade, school graduations and Halloween.
Even though they try to make Halloween as casual as possible, policing is also on their mind and Young said this is one event that probably deters criminal behaviour.
“The Halloween one is a great example of that as it puts us right into the roads very visible and when we’re right there people are less likely to want to do … some of the typical Halloween stuff like eggings or whatever it may be,” said Young. “So that community presence outside of the office, for sure is a deterrent for crime of various types.”
The RCMP also tries to send a team to any fundraiser at the bowling alley, involving both civilian and membership staff. Young also said they will try to do another bike rodeo with the help of some other organizations around town.
Now that the hot weather is here, the RCMP are shifting their focus on boat and ATV patrols to make their presence known and available to the public but again, also acting to prevent impaired operation and general safety.
Young said he would be bringing up rewarding youth drivers for wearing a seatbelt, or boaters with a lifejacket, with a positive ticket of some sort.
“Just having that more casual interaction essentially it humanizes the police members in the sense of rather than associating with someone being in enforcement – we show up when something is going wrong and we show up basically in uniform – they would know us by first name instead so they have that more of the personal connection to their local police members,” he said. “When you have that it definitely improves that relationship and creates a bit more of a positive environment for both sides.”