Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

May 19, 2009 10:00 ET

CUPE BC: Community Safety Gets a Boost With New "City Watch"

Joint initiative by CUPE BC, RCMP and the City of Vernon aimed at preventing crime

VERNON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 19, 2009) - Community safety got a big boost here today with the launch of a new program designed to give Vernon police 'extra eyes and ears' in the fight against crime.

"City Watch", an initiative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, B.C. division, combines the efforts of civic workers from CUPE 626, the RCMP's Safe Communities Unit, and the City of Vernon. The program, which has been introduced in several other B.C. communities, is designed to prevent and reduce crime by encouraging municipal employees to alert police to any suspicious activity they might witness while on the job.

"We are very honoured to have our members involved in a program like City Watch," says CUPE 626 president Ken Juniper. "They already serve their community with the work that they do, but with 'City Watch' training they can make a real contribution serving as extra eyes and ears for their neighbours."

"City Watch is a significant step in creating a safe community through the use of all municipal employees," says Terry Pakenham, city manager for the RCMP's Safe Communities Unit. "Without the generous sponsorship of CUPE and the partnerships formed between local CUPE 626, the RCMP, Vernon Fire Rescue, and the City of Vernon this program would not have been possible."

Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert says that City employees have all been trained in what to look for and how to report suspicious incidents, crimes in progress, and matters affecting public safety.

"As a result, we have effectively put an additional 300 sets of eyes and ears on the street assisting both police and Fire Rescue in keeping this community a safe and secure place," he says. "So it gives me great pleasure to welcome the City Watch program to our community."

Other B.C. municipalities that have implemented the program are Victoria, Burnaby, Kamloops, Ladysmith, Smithers, Quesnel, Chilliwack, Prince George, District of Kent and Township of Langley, North Vancouver, and Delta.

Contact Information

  • CUPE
    Dan Gawthrop
    Communications Representative
    (604) 999-6132
    RCMP Safe Communities Unit
    Terry Pakenham
    (250) 260-5276