He says the program has given him an opportunity to give back to his community.
“I realized I was missing something,” he says. “The auxiliary program is what I felt it was, so it allows me to be involved and to help and to still work with the members of the RCMP I respect, and a great way to contribute to the community and be involved.”
Volunteer auxiliary constables have no more rights than a regular citizen to make an arrest, but are given extensive training, tools and a uniform in order to help RCMP officers. They don’t carry a gun, but are given a baton, pepper spray and handcuffs, and a wear a uniform with distinct differences from an on duty police officer’s.
“It has to be distinctly different, but in the heat of the moment, nobody reacts to you any differently,” argues Thomson.
Thomson estimates he volunteers around 250 hours a year to the program, going out on community policing efforts or ridealongs about three days a month.
“I’m a regular person, and I have a job, I own a business. I do it based on my own schedule,” he explains. “It’s completely flexible based on your own individual schedule and what you can commit to.”
It definitely takes a certain person for the job, which is why Thomson recommends anyone interested attend the information sessions this week and next to find more. He says volunteers can be young or old, but need to be friendly and professional.
“It requires an individual who’s level headed, who doesn’t overreact in a situation, because you can be in a stressful situation and you need to be able to keep your cool and be able to deal with people appropriately.”
RCMP Corporal Jodi Shelkie adds the right candidate has a strong desire to serve their community and make a difference.
“We are looking for individuals with an interest in making our community a safer place for families, businesses, visitors and citizens, “ she says. “Auxiliaries come from many different backgrounds, but they all have the same goal in mind – to make Fort St. John a safer place.”
If interested in learning more, information sessions are being held at Northern Lights College tomorrow, April 24 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m.