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Black Diamond, Turner Valley helped by COP's eyes

Anyone wishing to join Citizens on Patrol can email [email protected]
TV RCMP Staff Sgt. Laura Akitt 7889
Turner Valley RCMP Staff Sgt. Laura Akitt said Diamond Valley Citizens on Patrol volunteers can be a valuable asset when the proposed CAPTURE program is up and running. (BRENT CALVER/Western Wheel)

There are some extra eyes helping RCMP in the Turner Valley-Black Diamond area.

But those supplying the peepers, the Diamond Valley Citizens on Patrol would like to see a bit more common sense as well.

“How many times have you seen people just start up a car and just let it run?” said Betty MacKinnon, DVCOP president. “And there are people who sometimes leave their garage doors open. We just want to help out with things like that.”

At present, DVCOP has volunteers driving the streets of Black Diamond and Turner Valley in the evenings. If they see something suspicious it is recorded and if needed, they call  RCMP immediately. 

 There are two people in the vehicle – COP members don’t patrol on their own.

“We stay in our vehicles and we keep moving,” MacKinnon said. “One guy keeps his eyes on the road and the other guy grabs a licence plate or a description. We are not supposed to approach anybody.”

And when it comes to patrolling, for Citizens on Patrol no news is absolutely good news.

MacKinnon said things have been quiet in both communities for the last several months as the good folks in Black Diamond and Turner Valley have adhered to COVID-19 protocols.

The biggest issue MacKinnon and her partner have come across are garage doors being open at night.

“What we do depends on whether there are any lights on in the house, and if we are comfortable we can go to the door and tell them ‘are you aware that you have your garage door open?’” MacKinnon said. “Or we can call the RCMP — not 9-1-1 — and the police do it...

“If you have an RCMP officer ringing your doorbell at 2 a.m., you don’t forget to close your garage door again.”

She said the odd time she has rang a door to tell a resident his or her garage door is open, they have been nothing but appreciative.

DVCOP is hoping to expand its vision with the RCMP’s CAPTURE (Community Assisted Policing Through Use of Recorded Evidence) program, once it is up and running. The program has residents in the Black Diamond-Turner Valley and surrounding area who have surveillance cameras on their property using their equipment to help RCMP.

“COP could definitely help us get the word out,” said Turner Valley RCMP Staff Sgt. Laura Akitt. “Due to COVID, it is hard to hold town hall meetings.”

Capture is all volunteer oriented. Residents would register with the program.

“They will let us know what type of cameras they have, where they have them and then they register themselves with the program,” Akitt said. “From that, we have a mapping system and if we have an incident in a certain area we can pull up the mapping system and we have immediate access to who has cameras in that area.”

The owner of the camera is then contacted and permission is requested for any information captured on digital concerning the incident.

RCMP is currently preparing the program which is totally web-based.

MacKinnon said COP will continue to patrol the community adding, fortunately, things are slow.

However, she stressed anyone seeing any suspicious activity should report it to RCMP.

Anyone wishing to join the Diamond Valley Citizens on Patrol can email [email protected].