Darian Beaumier, who hopes to some day join the RCMP, says he’s learned so much from volunteering with the Surrey RCMP – experience that he wouldn’t otherwise be able to reference when applying to become a police officer.
Beaumier is one of the dozens of volunteers with the Surrey RCMP. April 7 to 13 is National Volunteer Week, according to Volunteer BC.
For a little more than a year and a half, Beaumier said, he has been volunteering with the police. In that time, he said he’s volunteered with several of the Surrey RCMP’s volunteer programs, but he’s found the best fit with the Stolen Auto Recovery (SAR) program.
“Eventually, I kind of honed in on SARS because it’s just so much fun. You get to drive around with a crew that ultimately becomes your friends of like-minded volunteers from all kind of demographics, ages and cultures which is crazy.”
SAR is a partnership between the RCMP and ICBC, said Gabriel Pelletier, the community programs co-ordinator. He said with the program, vehicles “are being found more quickly than they normally would.”
“It shortens that window for police to actually investigate it and actually get fingerprints off of it,” he said.
Pelletier said SAR volunteers are sent out about once per day Monday to Friday for about four hours.
“We don’t always have good opportunities with policing units to volunteer with them, but this is the perfect set up where there’s data available,” he said. “It has to be a low-risk activity. It has to be something where we can add value and fill a gap of some kind where we can’t put too much manpower and resources into it.”
SAR volunteers, according to Surrey RCMP statistics, have recovered 23 stolen vehicles so far in 2019. In 2018, volunteers recovered 41. The average number of vehicle plates checked per month is 12,000.
Surrey RCMP’s Auto Crime Target Team made more than 300 arrests, resulting in 8 charges in 2018. So far this year, the team has forwarded more than 88 charges.
Volunteers run the licence plates through an app, and if a plate comes up as stolen then they call the non-emergency line, Beaumier said.
“The first time I had to call non-emergency, it was, oh boy, I was shaking afterwards,” he said.
To celebrate #NationalVolunteerWeek, we want to introduce you to a few of our outstanding volunteers that serve your community. First up – Avinesh Bali. Avi was part of a volunteer team that once located 3 stolen vehicles in one day! #ThankAVolunteer https://t.co/7JpM2XXCMt pic.twitter.com/xcuZkg1oMX
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) April 8, 2019
Constable John Tsonos having these volunteers is like “having an extra set of eyes.”
“Some volunteers, especially the older ones that are in the group, like to patrol their own area where they live. They tend to recognize which cars belong in a certain area. They call me up and say, ‘Hey John, I noticed a car that doesn’t belong in this neighbourhood,’ and they’ll run it and it’ll come back as stolen,” said Tsonos, who also volunteered with police in Ontario for 10 years before becoming an RCMP officer.
Like Tsonos, Beaumier said he hopes to become an RCMP officer as well one day.
“It’s a great way to get your foot in the door. You get to meet, you get to talk to a lot of members, make connections. I’m currently in the process right now and it’s been amazing getting advice from current members on how to make yourself the most appealing applicant possible.”
Beaumier, who grew up in Surrey, said volunteering has been “awesome.”
“You get to help your community out in ways I feel you probably wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”