LPS recruiting volunteers for The Watch program

“The police are the public and the public are the police.” Sir Robert Peel
The Lethbridge Police Service is excited to announce the new manager of The Watch program is in place and we are now recruiting volunteers!

Jeff Hansen, who has an extensive background working with law enforcement and social services in Canada and the US, began his new role as Watch Manager earlier this week and his first order of business is to recruit his new team of volunteers.

“I am thrilled to be part of The Watch program and extremely eager to get the new team trained and out on the street,” said Hansen, adding LPS is recruiting 24 volunteers who will be trained and ready for their first shift in May.

The Watch, modelled after similar programs in Winnipeg and Vancouver, is a new initiative to enhance community safety downtown. Highly visible and easily recognizable by their red coats and shirts, Watch patrollers will be deployed seven days a week throughout the year and will serve as eyes and ears to connect citizens with the appropriate response from police, EMS or social and community services. Volunteers will also provide directions, first aid, tourist information and other assistance – including a Safe Walk program.

“In our 2018 community survey the citizens of Lethbridge made it clear that they wanted opportunities for greater community engagement and were open to innovative models to address public safety concerns,” said Chief Rob Davis. “This initiative provides that opportunity and we are confident it will have a positive impact downtown. Today is an exciting day for LPS and the City of Lethbridge.”

All volunteers will be provided with comprehensive training including non-violent crisis intervention, street awareness and patrol safety tactics, CPR and First Aid, diversity awareness, citizen powers of arrest, report writing and note-taking, mental health awareness, occupational health and safety and more.

Watch volunteers will be connected directly to LPS by radio and will patrol downtown Lethbridge in groups. They will be responsible for reporting criminal activity, safety concerns, traffic hazards, nuisance behaviour, keeping a daily record of all incidents and activities, offering Safe Walk services and more. As the program expands, patrol areas are anticipated to extend beyond downtown.

If you are a minimum of 18 years of age, want make a difference in your community and test drive a career in policing or social services, becoming a Watch volunteer might be for you!

We are looking for a diverse team who will reflect the demographics of the city. The ideal candidate will be an enthusiastic and outgoing individual with strong communication, interpersonal and organizational skills. Previous customer service experience, geographic knowledge of the City of Lethbridge and an understanding of mental health, addictions and social issues are also an asset.

Volunteer shifts will be four-hours in duration and volunteers must be willing to commit to a minimum of one, four-hour shift per week (four shifts per month). All volunteers must be able to walk multiple kilometers per day.

Candidates will be required to pass a police information check. Volunteer applications are available at www.lethbridgepolice.ca/watch

Completed forms can be submitted in person at the police station or electronically by email to jeff.hansen@lethbridgepolice.ca 

Submissions will be accepted until Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

For further information about volunteering with The Watch please contact Jeff Hansen at 403-330-5220.

**MEDIA AVAILABILITY**
Mayor Chris Spearman and Chief Rob Davis, along with Sgt. Mike Williamson and Jeff Hansen, will be available for media interviews on Thursday, April 4, at 10:45 a.m. at the police station.