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New Auxiliary Policing Unit set to hit the streets this fall

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Tara Jeffrey

Members of a new Auxiliary Policing Unit could be on the job by October, Sarnia Police Deputy Chief Julie Craddock says.

“Candidates have completed initial interviews, physical tests and psychological testing and those that have been successful at each phase are now moving into the background portion of the process,” Craddock noted in a report to the Police Services Board.

She stated at last week’s board meeting that it has been a challenge to secure candidates who meet all of the requirements.

“Auxiliary officers are trained in use of force, they are representatives of the organization; and so, although it’s a volunteer position, the hiring standards remain very high,” she said, adding that they’re on track to begin training officers sometime this month, with a goal of graduation, and getting out into the community sometime in October.

“Our aim is to have an auxiliary compliment of 10-15 members total but that is a two to three year plan,” Craddock added, noting it’s not uncommon to lose a potential volunteer during the background phase.

Auxiliary officers are volunteers who support officers in a variety of capacities, including community activities like parades, festivals, special events, etc., as needed. Other duties can include missing persons searches, R.I.D.E. program assistance and community-based crime prevention initiatives.

The new Auxiliary Unit was presented as part of a controversial police budget approved by Sarnia City Council earlier this year — boasting an 11.5% increase.

Police Chief Derek Davis stressed the need to add more street patrols, start an auxiliary, and expand the MHEART (Mental Health) and IMPACT (Integrated Mobile Police and Community Team) program to address a skyrocketing number of calls related to mental health and addiction.

The Sarnia Police Service hosted two Auxiliary Recruitment session in the spring and interested applicants were invited to apply.

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