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Kelowna auxiliary constables graduate
Auxiliary constable graduate and class spokeswoman Dana Peters fought to hold back her emotions as she addressed the other 18 auxiliary constables who graduated Saturday at the Brigadier Angle Armoury Drill Hall.
"I apologize for my tears, but they are tears of joy," Peters told her fellow graduates.
"On March 3 of this year, 22 strangers met and started a journey that would change their lives."
According to Peters, this year's auxiliary troop began with 22 members, but a few dropped out of the program early.
The 19 people that stayed went above and beyond the call of duty.
"We as a troop not only decided to extend our hours every Saturday for 13 weeks, but we also incorporated a few Sundays," said Peters.
"The dedication shown by every member of this troop is something that we should all be very proud of."
Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said the the Kelowna Auxiliary Constable Program is incredibly important to the city.
"Last year our auxiliary constables worked over 10,000 hours at the Kelowna detachment, which is one of the busiest in Canada," said McKinnon.
"We've had sizeable increases in terms of resources, but we still count on our auxiliary constables to provide the service to our community that citizens have become accustomed to."
Along the journey, the auxiliary constables learned the incident management intervention model, traffic control, criminal law, defensive tactics and were given the experience of being pepper sprayed.
"We were invited to participate in receiving a taser strike and getting pepper sprayed, which we all did not enjoy very much—both were a learning experience that I appreciate but would not recommend to others," said Peters.
McKinnon said that the Auxiliary Constable Program in B.C. is over 50 years old.
"Originally the program fell under the Provincial Civil Defence Program. There have been many changes in the program since its inception, from changes in the uniform to changes in the roles and responsibilities of our auxiliary constables."
McKinnon told the graduates that with their new role in the Kelowna detachment comes a great deal of responsibility.
"In accepting your badge this afternoon, you are accepting a responsibility that few in this community will ever know.
"It's a responsibility which I would ask you to exercise wisely."