Boots on the ground for Penticton RCMP

Penticton RCMP Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth is the new cop on the downtown city street beat these days.

Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth of the Penticton RCMP walks the beat on Main Street this week as part of a new police program to be more visible in the downtown area. Public response so far has been positive.

Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth of the Penticton RCMP walks the beat on Main Street this week as part of a new police program to be more visible in the downtown area. Public response so far has been positive.

Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth is the new cop on the downtown city street beat these days.

As a way to increase police presence and visibility, Wrigglesworth has shed the vehicle and put on his walking shoes.

“It’s a face and a person as opposed to just a car and people will get to know my name and that’s great,” said Wrigglesworth. “On the other side, the value of being out there is immeasurable. You can’t measure who sees us and decides not to do something.

“There are people who may want to commit a crime, who may want to take something from a car, and hey, if a police officer just came around a corner from nowhere they’re going to think twice about it.”

And while the foot patrols along the streets and in the alleyways have only just begun, they are already having an impact.

“The other day I was able to catch a young person who was putting graffiti on city property and that person ended up with charges,” said Wrigglesworth. “I’m working with Downtown Penticton Association (DPA) with their graffiti program.

“It’s a big project and it shall be dealt with and maybe with me there, from now on someone with a pen in hand or a can of spray paint may change their mind as well.”

As far as executive director Kerri Milton of DPA is concerned, that catch alone makes the service all the more worthwhile.

“It (graffiti painting) happened right there while he (Wrigglesworth) was walking about and I think that goes to show the value of it and wins the argument right off the top,” she said. “We did a public survey back in November as to what the number one concern for people downtown is and 92 per cent said policing issues.

“So the fact that we have our downtown police back is fantastic.”

According to Wrigglesworth that’s exactly the feedback he is getting from just about everyone he comes in contact with during his walkabouts.

Another positive aspect from a core policing point of view according to both Wrigglesworth and Milton is the return of community policing services to its previous Lakeshore Drive location beside the Peach on the waterfront.

“Having them back there means that people are more apt to stop in there and see them to ask questions, than would ever go to the detachment,” said Milton.

Wrigglesworth, who will be at the Saturday, Feb. 28 Penticton Vees game will be recruiting volunteers to help staff the community police centre for the future.

He will also be actively searching for people interested in volunteering for other community work including RCMP auxiliaries, Citizens on Patrol, Speed Watch and other programs.

“We’re looking for anyone who is willing to give up their time,” he said. “People that can drive, people who can spend a few hours out at night who we can provide some of the hotspots and areas of interest to. Very often these people find stolen cars or premises that are unsecure.”

Applications will be available at the hockey game at the police booth. An information meeting is also scheduled for April for anyone interested.

Wrigglesworth is encouraging young people who are interested to talk to him about those opportunities.

 

 

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