BY KALISHA MENDONSA
In order to facilitate a safer community for all, local crime prevention and watch groups are teaming up with the support of the Lacombe Police Service (LPS), so all can offer the best services possible.
Lacombe’s Block Parent, Citizens on Patrol (COPs) and Neighbourhood Watch groups have already formed a strong relationship with one another under the umbrella group of the Lacombe Community Watch Association (LCWA).
Right now, the groups are seeking community involvement and are hoping to bring up their volunteer numbers.
To help build up the support for the groups in the community, LPS is getting on board to help the group grow and to ultimately create a safer Lacombe for all.
LPS Chief Lorne Blumhagen said this is a perfect example of how police support the community and how the community can work to support the police.
“There is a partnership there. It goes back to basic principles of policing, where the police are the community and the community are the police. We have to have a working relationship and open communication to look after our community,” Blumhagen said.
“I think every citizen has some responsibility to ensure their streets and neighbourhoods are safe, and that they are reporting crimes or working with the police to report suspicious activity. That includes things that are impacting them personally, but also looking out for their neighbours, or something that could be a detriment to the community as a whole.”
Blumhagen said LPS is eager to support volunteer groups within the community, but more importantly, to look at the bigger picture of safe communities.
He said in order to facilitate a safe community, all citizens have to work together in reporting, preventing and acknowledging crime in their neighbourhoods.
Const. Vaughan Bleasdale has been working alongside the Lacombe Community Watch Association since its inception. His role is to coordinate among patrollers at night and to liaison with group members to keep them aware of any potential situations they could assist in, and to keep them safe and knowing their boundaries.
This is one example of the Lacombe Police’s involvement, and how they are supporting the growth of these groups.
Debbi Gallant, president of the Lacombe Community Watch Association, said the development of these groups has been great within the City and she is excited to see support grow.
“We are a relatively new initiative in Lacombe, and are working to develop our relationship with LPS. They have been amazing. They’ve been incredibly supportive of us and our board, in working together to create and maintain a vision of a safer community in Lacombe,” Gallant said.
She said it is imperative the community knows that the role of the Lacombe Community Watch Association is void of vigilantism.
She said it is absolutely against what they stand for. The groups are simply meant to be aware of their communities and to pass any relevant information onto the police so issues may be dealt with safely and appropriately.
She said the groups, especially Citizens on Patrol, take cues from the police and are under the police direction as they assist in night time patrols.
“A large part of the LPS investment is offering information, support and wisdom about how to handle certain issues. They don’t want us to get into trouble or anything, but we are just trying to act as extra eyes and ears for the police. We have an amazing relationship with them, and we’re very thankful for that,” Gallant said.
All members of the Lacombe Community Watch Association board are also Neighbourhood Watch and Block Parent associates.
However, a person can join any of the three groups – Citizens on Patrol, Neighbourhood Watch or Block Parent – without necessarily having to be a part of the others.
However, all of the groups work in harmony with one another and align in moral perspectives, and with the overall goal of creating a safer community for all.
Thelma Ten Hove, Neighbourhood Watch coordinator, said the program has been under development and the group has decided to keep their involvement simple.
She said it is a small commitment to make that can ultimately create a big impact in our community.
“Neighbourhood Watch is about people getting to know their neighbours so<span class="Apple-co