Kelowna city council wants the RCMP auxiliary constable program back—but it want to see changes.
The program, which provided civilian volunteers to support the RCMP by working with community groups, at local events and with the public, was suspended by the federal government in January 2016 pending a review of the program.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities has asked its member communities to consider three different options for bringing back the program:
• Option 1: Status quo—Bring back the program as it was when Ottawa suspended it and have auxiliary constables not participate in general duty police patrols and ride-alongs or receive firearms familiarization training. Auxiliaries would remain appointed peace officers, wear police-type uniforms, and be issued “intervention” tools and soft body armour.
• Option 2: Community corps program— Auxiliaries would participate solely in community policing and would wear civilian-type uniforms and not be appointed as peace officers. Training would consist of 13 courses totaling 81.5 classroom and online hours.
• Option 3: Tiered program—Tier 1 in this option would include the training standards and duties of the community corps program with a maximum participation of 48 hours per year.
Tier 2 would be all the activities of the status quo option, as well as traffic and crowd control, parades and public ceremonies as well as foot and bike patrols under the supervision of an RCMP officer. Under this tier, auxiliary constables would be appointed peace officers and wear police-type uniforms, get intervention tools and soft body armour.
There would be more training and work would be limited to 96 hours of participation per year. They could not work after 9 p.m. Tier 3 would include tier 1 and 2 duties, as well as general duty patrol in RCMP vehicles, manning check stops and other activities deemed appropriate.
An additional level of training would include firearms familiarization as determined by the division training unit and participation would be set at 144 hours per year. Auxiliary constables would only be allowed to work up to midnight.
On Monday, Kelowna council voted to opt for the tiered program option as its choice for a return of the auxiliary constable program.
Coun. Brad Sieben said council appreciates the work past auxiliary constables have put in and see the program as a positive for the community.