By ROY WOOD
Citizens on Patrol (COP) has been active in Osoyoos for more than 20 years but has fallen into disrepair and is in need of restoration.
That’s the view of Osoyoos RCMP officer-in-charge Randy Bosch, who told Town Council on Monday that “the wheels have fallen off the bus” recently.
Bosch said he had a meeting with the volunteer organization about four weeks ago and was encouraged by the turnout and the enthusiasm of the current membership. But he said the group needs more volunteers, better organization and higher visibility
He said he wants to see the COPs spend less time cruising in their vehicles and more time on foot or on bicycles.
“It would be great to see them walking on the beach in the summer and calling us about any issues,” he said.
Bosch said local clothing retailer Unity has offered to supply tee shirts for the volunteers to help with visibility.
The local COP chapter was formed in 1994 and has served as an adjunct to the RCMP, mainly watching and listening and reporting suspicious activity and potential trouble to the police. COP volunteers are not permitted to intervene in situations they encounter.
Larry Boan, one of the original members and a former coordinator of the Osoyoos COPs, said in an interview he agrees with Bosch that foot patrols downtown would be valuable, in the summer particularly.
Boan said the group was down to as low as nine volunteers last year, but recently has grown to about 15. Durning the early days, he said, there were as many as 40 volunteers in the group.
Bosch asked council whether some sort of compensation for fuel use might be provided by the town. He suggested something on the order of $25 per shift or $1,000 per year.
Council instructed CAO Barry Romanko to investigate and report back to council.