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Enhancing public safety in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Oceanside community policing volunteers and board members Rowena Massey-Hicks and Shirley Cochrane spoke to The NEWS about the many programs available through community policing. - CANDACE WU PHOTO
Oceanside community policing volunteers and board members Rowena Massey-Hicks and Shirley Cochrane spoke to The NEWS about the many programs available through community policing.
— image credit: CANDACE WU PHOTO

The Oceanside community policing offices have had a busy summer.

According to Rowena Massey-Hicks, volunteer and board member, the organization has more than 100 people who help promote the safety and well-being of the communities in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

"I suppose the most important message is about safety," she said. "That's why I volunteer."

Massey-Hicks, who works out of the Parksville office, said the makpak (medical alert kit) program works by providing personal medical information to first responders in case you cannot verbally provide the information yourself. She said the program "could save lives" and makpaks are freely available at both the Parksville and Qualicum Beach offices.

Massey-Hicks said another program offered through community policing is called the child identification program.

"It's one of the most important programs in my mind," she said, adding that it works by asking parents to submit information about their child to the RCMP including: updated physical descriptions, a recent photo, fingerprints and a DNA sample (such as a strand of the child's hair).

"This information provides a level of security if a child goes missing," explained Shirley Cochrane, a fellow community policing volunteer and board member. "This way no time is lost in finding a missing child."

Cochrane said another useful program with community policing is their engraving program, where she said community members can borrow an engraver and mark their belongings with their drivers licence. Cochrane said most people use this program to engrave costly bicycles or bigger items like ATVs.

She said this program is very useful and has tracked stolen items as far away as California.

Community policing promotes many different safety-based initiatives in the community and both Massey-Hicks and Cochrane agreed the volunteer work is "fulfilling and satisfying."

"We love what we do," said Massey-Hicks, adding the organization is always looking for more volunteers. "The pay doubles every year."

For more information about community policing stop by the Parksville office at 100 East Jensen Avenue or call 250-954-2223. The Qualicum Beach office is located at 660 Primrose Street (250-752-2949).

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