RCMP are encouraging residents to take part in crime prevention by joining P.A.H. Patrol (Popkum, Agassiz Harrison Patrol).
The program has volunteers acting as the ‘eyes and ears’ of police, going out in shifts to monitor activity in the communities and reporting anything suspicious to local RCMP. With six municipal and eight provincial officers operating out of the Agassiz detachment, the volunteer groups acts not only as an extension of the RCMP’s reach, but push citizens to take on a role in protecting their community from opportunistic crime – crime that tends to peak during summer months.
Volunteers work in groups of two, using their personal vehicles to patrol Popkum, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs and reporting any suspicious activity to the local police dispatcher.
The group is non-confrontational and operates under strict guidelines that mandate volunteers go no further than reporting behaviour or situations that require police.
“It’s about getting more community involvement,” said Sgt. Darren Rennie of the Agassiz RCMP, adding the program has the most success with targeting impaired drivers.
In September, 2016, after the Popkum firehall was targeted by thieves, the mission to establish a crime-prevention volunteer group was pushed ahead.
With time however, Rennie said the volunteer group has diminished – with only six volunteers remaining.
Programs similar to P.A.H. Patrol exist in a number of municipalities, including Hope and Chilliwack. ICBC even plays a role – helping volunteers locate stolen vehicles by providing them with a computer program to check license plates.
All volunteers have to fill out an application and complete a criminal record check. Those interested are encouraged to call the Agassiz RCMP detachment at (604) 796-2211.