Return of RCMP foot patrols welcomed in downtown Vernon

Foot patrols well received

RCMP members walking the beat in downtown Vernon say the return of foot patrols has been well received by the public.

Vernon RCMP spokesperson Const. Chris Terleski says the patrols have been operating seven days a week for the past couple of weeks and will continue through the summer, "subject to operational requirements."

"The public really likes seeing us out there. We've been getting a good reception," said Terleski.

And the effort appears to already be paying off with results.

"We may come across incidents or street-level crime, but just being there reduces the likelihood of it happening," he says.

Constables Clay Fixsen and Ryan Fletcher were walking the beat earlier this week.

They both have more than a decade of experience with the RCMP.

Officers have been volunteering for the foot patrols, which get officers out of the car and up close with the public.

"When you're on the street in a car, you're not as approachable," says Fixsen.

Terleski says community policing has come full circle, in effect.

"Typically, police would have operated this way in the past, but as cities get bigger vehicles become necessary," he said. "Now, we're returning to policing on foot."

And the transition has been welcomed, with numerous comments on social media posts regarding the foot patrols.

The patrols are targeted to the downtown area, but will expand to include beaches during the summer and also large events such as Funtastic.

Sgt. Dale Jackson says he eagerly volunteered to join the patrols, having done similar work when he was stationed in Surrey.

"I'm really big on proactive rather than reactive policing," he said.

Instead of responding after a crime has happened, the simple act of police presence stops the crime before it happens, says Jackson.

"For every one file we generate on foot patrol, we prevent many more from happening," he said.

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