C.O.P.P keeping watch throughout local community

West St. Paul Citizens on Patrol Program volunteers operate the Speed Watch program along Highway 9 in front of West St. Paul School on June 4. (Brook Jones/Selkirk Journal/Postmedia Network) Brook Jones / Selkirk Journal

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West St Paul Citizens on Patrol Program coordinator Detlef Hindemith contributes to the program as a director on the Manitoba C.O.P.P board, which oversees the program’s 52 groups with more than 1,000 volunteers.

All C.O.P.P members, including Hindemith who is also a Councillor in the RM of West St Paul, are Volunteers dedicated to keeping the community safer. West St Paul members patrol throughout the community as they watch and report questionable activities to the RCMP.

“We do not engage. Our role is observational and reporting questionable activities to the RCMP. Being visible patrolling assists as being a deterrent to crime,” Hindemith said. “Some of the things they encountered over the years has been: stolen vehicles, abandoned snowmobiles, witnessed vandalism, reported suspected impaired drivers, reported imprudent driving behavior, reported suspected illegal exchanges, discovered active theft and assisted RCMP in efforts to locate a fleeing suspect.”

C.O.P.P also participates with road safety and sets up a speed monitoring board as a friendly reminder to motorists of the speed they are travelling so they can adjust and slow down.
Hindemith adds some of the members recently participated in the RCMP annual observational survey for seatbelt/cell phone use. This information provides assistance to the RCMP in determining the effects of enforcement and educational efforts to motorists. Not wearing a seatbelt still remains as a concerning cause of fatalities during a collision.

According to Hindermith, the results were very encouraging as seatbelt compliance use was approximately 96% a significant increase from only 87% in 2012.

“Cell phone compliance remains relatively consistent in the 97- 98% compliant range. Drivers are getting the message to buckle up for safety and stay off their cell phones.”Hindemith said.

“Considering the potential consequences of using a cell phone to text or talk this still falls short of the mark. It only takes a second to cause a serious or fatal collision which may have been preventable,” he added.

Visit the C.O.P.P display table on Canada Day at the Sunova Center in West St. Paul during the morning. There will be complimentary safety information, giveaways, as well as the popular Child Id kits.