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Insight and backup

Auxiliaries can make life easier for RCMP officers

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (May 16/03) - Const. J.F. Leduc knows the value of having an auxiliary constable by his side.

While on duty, an auxiliary member once helped Leduc subdue an individual during an altercation.

"I guess they're underpaid and underrated," he said. "They deserve a lot of credit for coming out and helping us with a job that a lot of other people wouldn't even consider doing."

Const. Jason Gott, auxiliary coordinator for the Fort Simpson detachment, agreed.

"Being from the community, they know where everybody lives and reactions to expect from certain individuals," said Gott. "It's definitely an asset."

For a total of three years each, Troy Hardisty and Tiiu Cli have been volunteering their time -- mostly evenings on the weekends -- to periodically ride-along with the RCMP. A typical shift is fairly quiet, entailing a few checks of motorists for sobriety and seat-belt use, according to Hardisty. Under-age youth are sent home after the midnight curfew and drunks are also urged to go home. Intoxicated individuals who persist in wandering around the community are put in jail for the night, Hardisty noted.

Despite many people knowing him well, Hardisty said nobody has yet harassed him for being involved in their arrest. On the contrary, most people on the street are friendly, he said.

"Sometimes when they see me working they say Hi and I just chat with them," he said, adding that he started volunteering "just to help out. I enjoy doing stuff like that."

Cli, also from Fort Simpson, said she tries to avoid projecting an overtly authoritarian image. Instead she hopes to inspire the community, especially the kids, by being in uniform, she said. Having participated in the Aboriginal Cadet Development Program in Regina in 1997, she said she is planning to pursue a policing career "one day." Because she speaks Slavey, she helps the RCMP with translation as well.

John Christensen is Fort Simpson's newest auxiliary constable having started in November. However, he had two years of auxiliary experience in Fort McPherson, where he was also the bylaw officer. A 15-year military veteran, now retired, he said he likes the RCMP for its discipline and way of life.

"And you'd like to think that you're helping out the community," said Christensen.

Like Cli, he added that he enjoys the company of the local RCMP officers.

"The guys are good. I like the guys," he said.