A new type of public safety officer will begin serving the Delta community in December.
On Monday (Nov. 29), the Delta Police Department announced community safety officers (CSOs) will soon begin working with regular police officers in an “observing and reporting role.” The pilot program will start with two full time and two auxiliary CSOs working under the DPD’s existing public safety operations group.
The CSOs will be distinguishable by uniforms similar to those of DPD reserve constables, but with a unique shoulder flash and branding. The officers will be equipped with batons and pepper spray, but not firearms. As well, the CSOs will be driving distinctive vehicles marked with community safety decals.
According to a DPD press release, the CSO model is used by a number of other communities, and gives those interested in a career in law enforcement an opportunity to work alongside regular officers in a paid position.
All four of the new CSOs were hired from the DPD’s existing reserve constable program, and in addition to the training received through that program received specialized schooling for their new role.
“The community safety officers are designed to be an extension of our uniformed presence, and will be visible within the community,” Sgt. Jim Ingram, head of public safety operations for the Delta Police Department, said in a press release. “They will be conducting foot and bicycle patrols, as well as patrols in marked community safety vehicles equipped with emergency lights.”
“This helps us enhance our service to the community, with an additional uniformed response to non-criminal event.”
Their duties will include unplanned traffic control, assisting with non-evidentiary property and potentially serving on the perimeter of ongoing incidents, ensuring the public doesn’t come into harm’s way. They may also attend minor, non-reportable collisions.
In addition to the new CSO program, the DPD is continuing with its reserve constable program, in which trained volunteers help with community policing and crime prevention activities, including taking part in community events, while under the direct supervision of a police officer.
Many of those who take part in the reserve constable program go on to careers in law enforcement. According to the DPD’s website, 107 of the 183 reserve constables who have served since 2002 have since been hired by the DPD or another police agency. Info on the reserve constable program is available on deltapolice.ca.