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GSPS begins rebuilding auxiliary members program

With six auxiliary constables appointed during Wednesday’s police board meeting, Greater Sudbury Police Service has begun rebuilding the volunteer program
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Greater Sudbury Police Service Chief Paul Pedersen is seen during Wednesday’s police board meeting, at which the board approved the appointment of six auxiliary constables.

In one of the first big steps toward resuming its slate of volunteer programs axed during the pandemic, six auxiliary constables were appointed during Wednesday’s police board meeting. 

“The auxiliary program really allows us to expand our capacity in the areas of crime prevention, citizen engagement and visibility,” Chief Paul Pedersen told after the meeting. 

The Police Services Act allows for these volunteer appointments, which it notes can be granted “the authority of a police officer if he or she is accompanied or supervised by a police officer and is authorized to perform police duties by the chief of police.”

“We try to keep our members of the auxiliary at about 10 per cent of our total sworn staff, and they’ll do everything from ride alongs to joining us at community events and being ambassadors of the police service,” Pedersen said. 

They’ve historically maintained an auxiliary unit of approximately 30 members, which Pedersen said they are “absolutely” aimed at achieving through ongoing recruitment efforts.

The auxiliary program was suspended in March 2020 alongside all other GSPS volunteer programs “to oblige the significant restrictions imposed on in-person and in-office contact,” according to a report prepared for Wednesday’s police board meeting. 

“As a result, our auxiliary unit significantly decreased in size. Also contributing to the decrease in numbers was that a number resigned in favour of becoming a sworn member with the service.”

For the full list of requirements and information on the auxiliary program selection process, click here

While work to restart the auxiliary member program is ongoing, Pedersen said restarting other volunteer programs will be up for discussion during upcoming 2023 budget talks.

This includes the Citizens on Patrol program, which longtime volunteer Theo Reed urged police to restore. 

The Citizens on Patrol program consisted of pairs of volunteers patrolling Greater Sudbury streets in refurbished former police cruisers, stripped of police lights and sporting Citizens on Patrol identifiers on the sides. Several groups were spread throughout the municipality. 

The fleet of Citizens on Patrol vehicles volunteers once used have since been sold. In the event program funding were reinstated, police would need to divert some former police vehicles headed to public auction toward the program.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for