What is the Citizens on Patrol Program?


By Don Chubey
Neepawa COPP

The COPP (Citizens on Patrol Program) is an organization in many communities in Manitoba. It is a significant partner in the community policing concept, involved in crime prevention. The organization is established with the approval from the local policing agency (in rural Manitoba, it’s the R.C.M.P.). The major sponsor of the program in Manitoba is M.P.I. (Manitoba Public Insurance). The Manitoba COPP is the governing body of all 56 local COPP groups in Manitoba.

The mission of the Manitoba COPP is to build safer communities by mobilizing citizens throughout Manitoba to participate in a community-based crime prevention initiative in co-operation with law enforcement agencies.
The objectives of the Manitoba COPP are: A) deterrence – to provide a presence within the community through patrolling, B) education – to educate Manitobans on crime prevention and C) awareness – to increase Manitobans’ awareness on crime related issues.
The goals of Manitoba COPP are to encourage, mobilize and support individuals and groups interested in improving the safety of Manitoba’s communities through a coordinated sustainable approach.
The R.C.M.P. directly assist the local COP Program by processing each individual applicant’s criminal record check which is a mandatory document for an individual to join the organization.
M.P.I. acts as the official provincial governing body for the organization, providing supports, equipment and supplies to local COP Program groups. They also establish regulations, procedures and training of applicants for the local groups. An annual provincial conference is held to share information with the policing agencies and other COPP groups from around the province.
Each local R.C.M.P. detachment where there is an established COP Program organized, assigns a member as a liaison officer as a partner member of the local group. The officer receives and forwards pertinent information back and forth between the two organizations. They attend COPP monthly meetings and may report to the members any information that the police would like the patrolling members, to be on alert for. The COPP members  make written daily logs of the patrol shift,  which is forwarded to the attention of the liaison officer.
Manitoba Public Insurance provides assistance to the local COP Program in setting up the Speed Watch Program. They provide the digital electronic speed board that identifies what the legal speed is for that particular street/avenue and then reads out the actual speed at which each vehicle approaching the speed board is travelling at. There are two purposes for this program: the main one is to make each driver instantly aware of what speed they are actually travelling at. This helps them to reduce their speed to the posted limit. The second purpose is to gather statistical speed information for both the local R.C.M.P. and M.P.I.  This information is recorded by a pair of COPP members and forwarded to both. The report helps both agencies to decide if there is a significant concern regarding  higher than normally accepted speeding offences in the community. The speed watch is randomly set up at different locations and at different times of the day  (for two or three hour durations) or at specific locations when directed by R.C.M.P.

In the next article, we will feature the procedures of becoming a volunteer COPP member in Neepawa.