KAMLOOPS — They may not get the recognition and glory for taking down criminals, but auxiliary police officers play an essential role at the Kamloops RCMP detachment.
One of them is Chris Mitra, who during the day, is busy running his software business western industrial solutions.
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"As an owner, you kind of work when the client needs you to work, so the standard business hours. But it's not unusual to get phone calls after hours with client problems," says Mitra.
But in between those long hours, Mitra finds the time to volunteer as an auxiliary RCMP officer, being a presence in the community.
"We have a big presence, doing traffic at Blazer games," notes Mitra. "We also run a lot of the other community events."
That includes school visits and business checks around town. chris has been doing this for 10 years, putting in hundreds of hours every year --- all on his own time --- plus 200 hours of training.
He's passionate about keeping kamloops safe.
"A lot of people call the auxiliaries the ultimate volunteer," he says. "That was the kind of thing I was looking for, a job that gave back, and you have a lot of intrinsic satisfaction from doing the job, and that's what I get."
Mitra is one of 36 auxiliary officers in Kamloops that put in a minimum of 160 hours of volunteer service every year --- a key part of the Kamloops RCMP.
"We can send out five or six auxiliaries to do what one general duty members would do," says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie. "That leaves us with more officers on the road. As well, just because of the community program that they do when they do business checks and speaks to students in schools, that just makes the streets safe. There are also less calls for service for our general duty members."
Mitra, at one time, dreamt about being an RCMP officer, but this is a close second, and he plans to keep doing it as long as he can.
"As far as a volunteer experience goes, especially in Kamloops, we're really lucky at the Kamloops detachment," says Mitra. "We have an amazing level of support from everybody here, and that makes it more enjoyable to come here all the time. They are very complimentary of the work we do, always, and really appreciative of the time we put in. It makes a big difference to the volunteer experience."
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