A community outside of Williams Lake has formed a group to help the RCMP.
Close to 100 people in McLeese Lake have formed a community watch group that allows residents to report suspicious activity.
Dan Harrison, one of the group’s creators, said that he encourages other communities to follow their lead.
“Any communities, you name it, anywhere, just do it,” he said. “I don’t care if there has to be a community watch for every street in Williams Lake, we can do it, and all it’s going to do is just bring the community closer together. It’s going to tell the prolific offenders or any offender that they are not welcome here, and it’s going to make the police’s job a whole lot easier.”
Harrison said that the community has been able to communicate with Inspector Jeff Pelley, the detachment commander for the Williams RCMP.
“It’s like having the Bat phone right in Williams Lake,” he said. “I can lead the group; the group can report something to the page that we see, and I can take that information and report it directly to Jeff or the police. To have that relationship with the community and the RCMP, it’s crucial. We are 45 kilometres; it’s at least a half-hour for the police to show up.”
He said that they should set something up with the RCMP or contact him for information for any communities looking to follow in their footsteps.
“Get Pelley out there, get him to give a presentation, get him to come have a meet and greet, get him to meet the community,” Harrison said. “It’s not an opportunity for the community dump on him and says you’re not doing your job because they are doing their job, but it should be the community going to the RCMP and saying what can we do, as a group legally, what’s within our rights that we can do, that would help you.”
Pelley said that he believes these community groups are a positive thing,
“I think there is an absolute benefit to opening up those channels of communication, and the obverse and report, and reporting to the police, we may see an increase of calls and cooperation in the honesty, but that’s a good thing, and that pressure can be put on those individuals that may try to commit crimes in these communities covertly or stealthy without being known.”
He added that the RCMP had had successes in investigations and arrests due to the McLeese Lake community group.