The Vanderhoof Crime Watch Patrol is asking for $2,500 from the District of Vanderhoof for the recovery of fuel costs and other needs.
Traugott Klein has been the president of the patrol for the about two years and he believes that $2,500 is not much to ask for the service provided. The district has always agreed in the past, they have given a total of $11,600 to the patrol over the years.
The money is spent chiefly on fuel for the volunteer vehicles as well as equipment such as scanner radios and high quality flashlights. It costs as much as $700 to buy an RCMP quality flashlight.
“We have our own vehicles that we drive around and certain areas that we drive through,” said Klein. “We try to stay away from where the RCMP is, that’s one reason we have scanners, so we can hear what’s going on.”
The Crime Watch Patrol currently has 26 members, eight of which were added in 2013. Klein suggests the increase is due to their appearance at the trade show.
Because of the member increase, Klein wrote the annual letter to the district asking for the money which would allow for more patrols. Klein said that there were about 40 patrols one year but that with the member increase they are going to be aiming for two per week.
“Our problem is the same for all volunteer groups,” said Klein. “We volunteer for more than one thing and we’re all busy. There’s very few who can do it on a regular basis, I try to do it once a month and that’s fine, I can handle that.”
The Crime Watch Patrol spends most of their time in the downtown area of Vanderhoof, usually at night but the time is completely flexible. Whenever somebody has time to go out, they go out, it doesn’t have to be during the night.
One crazy thing Klein observed last year was a cow walking down Stewart Street at three in the morning.
The cow was walking along near Gription Tire having apparently come from a farm south of town. It took off back towards home shortly after it was called in.
Another time, Klein was on a patrol and because it was so cold, he decided to turn around a little earlier than he usually does. On that night, someone was killed right at the spot where he would have been had he not called it quits early.
“You just wonder what you could get into,” said Klein. “You might run into something and there might be consequences.”
Patrols observe and when they see something they make judgement call on whether to write it down or call the RCMP too. They might see a vehicle that looks suspicious but not enough to call it in so they’ll write down a description and plate number. They usually just write down what area they were patrolling that way the RCMP can go back and look at the notes if they have to.
The notes are all kept on file by their police contact Officer Jason Baird.
“We don’t advertise ourselves,” said Klein. “We try to protect individual members identity except for those who choose not to like myself. We try to not drive into any area we can’t easily drive out of. But we’ve never had any problems.”
The Crime Watch Patrol is always looking for new members, if you want to join get in contact with Traugott Klein who can be found in the Co-op Lumber office or with Jason Baird at the RCMP detachment.
All members must be at least 18 years old and have a yearly criminal record check. New members will go out with a more experienced patroller and get some personal training for the first three patrols.