After almost two years of vacancy, Squamish is getting its downtown community policing office back.
The reopening provides RCMP with another place to work with citizens and government agencies to address public safety concerns, Sgt. Wayne Pride said in a statement issued on Tuesday (Oct. 23).
“I am eager to have our community policing coordinator and the training office volunteers back serving as a primary crime prevention and law enforcement resource for our community,” he said.
The facility, which opened in 2005, was closed in November 2010 after an RCMP departmental security building review deemed security issues with the building needed to be addressed. The upgrade bills for the building, which is being leased by the District of Squamish, were to come out of the municipality's pocket.
The district expects the renovations to be completed by the end of November, municipal officials stated. The office will reopen once the RCMP conducts its final inspection, and computer networking is complete.
The office acts as an extension of the main police detachment at Highway 99 and Finch Drive. The volunteer-driven centre provides services such as supporting citizen crime watches, block watches and crime prevention programs, along with staples like Crime Stoppers and anti-fraud education. Staff at the office also help with criminal record checks, applications for pardons and reporting of minor motor vehicle accidents.
Community policing coordinator Kathryn Hennigar is seeking volunteers to help staff the office.
“We're looking for customer-service-driven individuals who hold community safety and crime prevention in high regard to become part of our dedicated team,” she stated in the release.
Training will be provided and applicants must be older than 16. Those interested can call (604) 815-8134 or visit the RCMP detachment at 1000 Finch Drive to apply.
In the near future, the district plans to incorporate a bylaw enforcement and animal control presence at the facility, enabling residents to use the building for tasks such as making a bylaw complaint, purchasing a dog licence or paying a fine.
The office provides a permanent home for valuable services, Mayor Rob Kirkham said.
“I'm pleased to see this office reopened, bringing a police presence back to the downtown,” he said.