Burnaby RCMP are on the lookout for regular folks who want to become ultimate volunteers — the city needs 30 new Auxiliary Constables.
Darren Berg, who is the program’s assistant co-ordinator, said he loves the time he spends in uniform, so much so he’s in his 21st year as an auxiliary constable.
“It’s a great program,” said Berg. “We do a wide variety of (activities): we work with general duty members, traffic members, special events, crowd control, counter attack programs. Pretty much everything.”
Const. Joanne Koole, the program’s co-ordinator, describes the ideal auxiliary candidate as somebody who’s 19 or older, healthy, dependable, compassionate, dedicated, and reliable (as determined by an RCMP background check).
The primary purpose of an Auxiliary Constable is to participate in community policing activities relating to pubic safety and crime prevention.
Auxiliary constables are unarmed but they do wear RCMP uniforms and often have to deal with a lot of the same issues as regular officers.
That’s why people looking to eventually become police officers often start by becoming Auxiliary Constables for a few years.
“A lot of the time we’re doing the same duties that regular members do, for zero dollars; nothing in your pocket at the end of the day but the satisfaction that you went out and supported a community,” explained Berg.
And although there’s no monetary reward, Berg believes the life experience and personal satisfaction gained through volunteering are enough.
When asked for an example of Auxiliary Constables helping out a community in a significant way, Berg thinks back three years ago to when an oil pipeline burst in Burnaby.
“We were down there in full-force for 15 to 16 hours a day, and our job was to simply be there for the community,” he said. “We were able to sit down with the people and comfort them as they cried over the fact that their homes were destroyed.”
And for Berg and his colleagues, the proof of their importance was in the pudding: not a single case of looting or breaking and entering occurred in any of the homes.
If you’re interested in knowing more, head down to the Burnaby RCMP Detachment at 6355 Deer Lake Avenue on either Sept. 25 from 1 - 3 p.m. or Sept. 27 from 7 - 9 p.m. to take part in an information session.