With 2013 marking the golden anniversary of the RCMP’s Auxiliary Constable Program, Blackfalds detachment is happy to be a part of it.
RCMP Const. Adrian Dean, coordinator for the Blackfalds auxiliary program, said there are many advantages to an auxiliary program. The most obvious of which is having another body, an extra set of hands and an extra set of eyes in the car with regular officers.
“It’s nice to have somebody riding around with you,” said Dean.
In addition to their usefulness in the field, auxiliary RCMP officers also provide police representation at formal events like Remembrance Day services and other community events, said Dean.
He added that having people in the community actively involved in policing also strengthens the relationship between the community and the detachment.
The Blackfalds RCMP Auxiliary Program has been around just as long as the Blackfalds RCMP detachment itself, said Dean.
When the Red Deer Rural RCMP detachment was moved to Blackfalds and became Blackfalds RCMP in 2011, the detachment brought its auxiliary program along with it.
There is no cost to volunteers to join the auxiliary program.
Any cost for the uniforms, equipment and training supplied to volunteers is covered by the RCMP.
However, because of the time, effort and expense to the RCMP in preparing volunteers for the program, there are certain expectations of those members.
Most detachments look for a minimum two-year commitment from auxiliaries and they are expected to volunteer at least 160 hours per year.
The application process for auxiliary members is quite extensive and very similar to the process used to hire regular RCMP members.
Dean said that there are only a few differences in that some steps required to hire full officers, like a polygraph test, are not required of auxiliary members.
Once that process is complete, auxiliaries are all set to work with the regular RCMP members. They then contact the detachment to let them know when they are available to volunteer for the department.
Blackfalds currently has two auxiliary members in its program, said Dean. He added that they will typically inform him by phone or email when they are interested in volunteering a few days in advance and Dean will then let them know which units will have space for them to join.
“Everyone knows these guys so they can just drop in any time and come out,” said Dean. He added that, on occasion, the Blackfalds detachment has contacted auxiliaries directly to request assistance in certain operations, like ceremonies or check stops.