Published on April 05, 2014
Charles Peters serves as an auxiliary volunteer for the Digby detachment and encourages anyone looking for a ‘Nowhere Near Ordinary’ experience to apply. - Karla Kelly photo
Published on April 05, 2014
RCMP auxiliary volunteer Charles Peters, right, is joined by Const. Tyler Binns, the auxiliary program co-ordinator for the Digby detachment. - Karla Kelly photo
Tossing aside his work clothes and leaving his day job behind, Charles Peters slips out for a ‘Nowhere Near Ordinary’ night on the town.
By day, Peters is a mink ranch foreman in Riverdale, but by night, he serves the community as an RCMP Digby Detachment auxiliary volunteer.
Peters says he got involved in this very unique and personally satisfying experience about six years ago, when he was co-ordinating Riverdale and Southville’s Neighbourhood Watch Program.
“The RCMP was part of this and they asked if I would be interested in the auxiliary program,” said Peters.
Peters had applied to the RCMP in the 1980s and was accepted, but he had already left to go work in China for five years and missed out on this career opportunity.
“I had wanted to work in law enforcement, so being an auxiliary volunteer was the next best thing,” he said. Peters mainly works on weekends.
“It’s totally different than what I do every day and it’s one part of me that’s always been interested in police work.”
Easy to volunteer
The volunteer fireman, first responder and ground search and rescue member was already qualified in CPR and First Aid, so it was just a matter of completing the RCMP screening process and the five to six days of training in Debert, including 30 hours of field coaching by a regular member.
“Auxiliary volunteers are not issued guns but they are trained in such things as self-defence, vehicle approach, traffic control, accident scenes, home searches, guarding prisoners and finger printing,” he said.
As an auxiliary volunteer, Peters is an extra set of ears and eyes for the regular members. At night, it is good to have an extra person on patrol, he said.
“When I am on a shift I can end up anywhere in Digby County, or if I am in with the traffic division, I could be in Shelburne or Yarmouth,” he said.
Volunteers never work alone; they are always with a member, Peters explained.
“So far, it’s been a pretty safe experience…there are things that could happen, but it would all be part of the job,” he said. “I work with as many different members as possible. It allows me to learn how they approach each situation and of course I have the benefit of getting to know them.”
‘Just one of the guys’
Peters says the RCMP members treat him as ‘just one of the guys,’ which helps him to feel like he belongs.
Peters feels his involvement in the program makes for good public relations between the RCMP and the community. He sees it as another way he can serve his own community.
“I have lived here all my life and know just about everyone,” he said. “People know I’ve always been on the lookout for others around home and they are fine with my being an auxiliary member. I am able to act as a ‘go between’ for the RCMP and community members.”
The mink ranch foreman says if time allows while they are on patrol, stops are made so the regular members can meet people and get to know the community better.
“Seniors are especially appreciative of this opportunity, it adds to their sense of security.”
People in the community are able to contact Peters anonymously with information pertaining to a crime or investigation and he says it has helped in a few cases.
More auxiliary officers needed
Peters is the only auxiliary member who volunteers on a regular basis. The local detachment is looking for qualified candidates to join their auxiliary program, says Const. Darrell McNeill.
“We are looking to have three auxiliary volunteers who are willing to commit 120 hours of their time a year,” said McNeill.
“Charles has been pretty well committed to those hours, which are usually on the weekends, but he will come in for additional time, such as the Wharf Rat Rally, if needed.”
Peters says during mating time on the mink ranch, it is difficult for him to get away, but the RCMP make allowances for his work schedule.
“I don’t have to go in every weekend but I choose to,” he said. “I also plan to be involved in the program for as long as I can.”
Peters urges anyone interested in a law enforcement career to try out the auxiliary volunteer program first to see if it is something they are suited to.
“Anyone 19 years of age who is a Canadian citizen of good character is eligible for the program,” he said. “It is an excellent way to help you make a career choice in police work and I would be willing to talk to any interested parties.”
If you would like an experience that is "Nowhere Near Ordinary," apply to the Digby RCMP Auxiliary Program at 129 Victoria Street, Digby.