Safety Officers Hit The Streets

The Aldergrove Star - August 13, 2008

The Township is one of four cities to hire community constables. Three weeks after they graduated from the Pacific Regional Training Centre, Jeff Chrismas and Paul Walker were put to work as Langley Township's first Community Safety Officers at Aldergrove Fair Days. And on July 28, Chrismas and Walker were introduced to Township council.

It was one of the recommendations of a council-appointed Aldergrove Task Force that there be more police presence in the town.

The pair were introduced by their boss, Supt. Janice Armstrong who told council that their hiring "is a really, good important and positive step" to solving problems in Aldergrove.

Walker and Chrismas join graduates who will work in Surrey, Ridge Meadows and Prince George detachments.

The community safety officers do not carry guns, but are equipped with pepper spray and and batons. Their role is to bolster police presence, open access to the community, essentially "getting back to grass roots policing," Armstrong said.

She added that their presence is a "reassurance policy," and that they will get to know the residential and business community in an effort to discover the root cause of crime in Aldergrove. The area has been plagued with petty crime, complaints of loitering youth, and break-and-enter offences at both residential and business properties.

Councillor Kim Richter, who attended the officers' graduation, said they are Canada's first graduating class of CSOs. "So we are on the ground floor of an important project," she said.