City to provide $4,000 to Citizens on Patrol Society
Airdrie City council unanimously approved a $4,000 grant from the 2013 operating budget for Citizens on Patrol (COP), Jan. 21.
Council will also request that Volunteer Airdrie work with COP, which voluntarily patrols Airdrie and area during both weeknight and weekend evenings on the lookout for criminal or suspicious activity, to develop a volunteer management and fundraising plan.
In addition, council nominated the group for the Communitas Award for Excellence in Volunteerism and Social Responsibility, an international award program that awards volunteerism and community leaders.
“We are very happy,” said Ennio Ricci, president of Airdrie COP. “Any contribution we can get from our community is beneficial.”
According to Ricci, COP started operating in Airdrie in 1996 and became a society in 2009.
To date, they have not received money from the City of Airdrie, as they don’t qualify for Family and Community Support Services funding.
The organization now includes between 25 to 30 volunteers who work in partnership with the Airdrie RCMP, patrolling for suspicious persons and vehicles, helping control traffic in emergencies, taking part in searches and more.
According to Ricci, volunteers have invested more than 11,900 hours and driven more than 85,000 kilometres in the past five years.
Because the majority of the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance is borne by volunteers, the group has lost a number of members in the past year, said Ricci, adding the City funds will help cover these costs.
“We believe this financial support would reverse this situation,” he said during his presentation to council.
Airdrie RCMP Sergeant Dennis Esayenko attended the meeting in support of COP. He said the funding commitment is “well overdue.”
“Bringing this forward to council just shows the initiative not only on the street, but in pursuing this issue,” he said.
“It shows the infrastructure of the City, the managers, the council, support this initiative. It’s a big (boost).”
Alderman Glenda Alexander said the funding is well deserved.
“I don’t think there is any question COP is a value and an asset to our community,” she said.
Alderman Murray Buchanan echoed Alexander’s sentiments.
“We get tremendous value out of COP,” he said.
“I really do think we are very fortunate to have this group of volunteers. I will fully support (the request).”