In late 2002, Saugeen Shores Police Service developed plans to establish a Community Watch program in Saugeen Shores. This program essentially provides the Police Service with more eyes and ears on the streets. Local volunteers are there to assist this local police service in the deterrence of unlawful activity within the community.
It is a concept that originated in Western Canada when ordinary citizens formed organizations to supplement police patrols to help reduce acts of vandalism and crime by keeping a neighborhood watch over their communities.The concept has been extended throughout North America operating under numerous names from Citizens of Patrol, Citizen Observer Patrols, Volunteers in Policing, Community Action Patrols, etc. All programs have a very similar mandate; they have civilian members on patrol for unusual or criminal activities and report such incidents of suspicious activity to their local police service by cellular phones or radio for necessary police followup.
Community Watch members do not have the authority or mandate to intervene when suspicious activity is noted. The action they take is to observe and report the activity to police. This is essential so members of the Community Watch group do not place their own safety in jeopardy. A patrol consists of two citizens in one vehicle, one as driver, and the other as an observer and generally lasts four or five hours. Patrols are random throughout the municipality, with specific focus on areas and locations which have been identified as problem areas.
The volunteers do not take enforcement action of any sort. They observe, record and report any suspicious activities to the police while on patrol.
Kent Milroy is our Community watch liaison and helps co-ordinate the program.