As of May 2016, there are 71 active Citizens On Patrol groups in Alberta. This is an increase of 16 new C.O.P. groups in the past year. As well, there are 7 more communities who have expressed an interest in organizing a C.O.P. program. Since January 2016, over 100 people have joined ACOPA. IN 2015, 292 people joined ACOPA and in 2014, there were 196 new members in the C.O.P. program.
Over the past year, there has been an increase in the number of break and enters, theft of vehicles, and theft from vehicles which seems to be what is causing the interest in the C.O.P. program. Whatever the reason, Alberta Citizens On Patrol Association (ACOPA) has been busy assisting new groups get started and welcomes having so many new groups in communities where citizens are concerned about the criminal activity in their area.
ACOPA has a volunteer Board of 9 elected members with 4 volunteer members. Besides the ACOPA Board, volunteers look after the website, newsletter, insurance questions and ID cards. ACOPA has an RCMP Liaison Officer from K division who works with the Board.
ACOPA recently purchased a special machine that will print ID cards for the C.O.P. members. The ID cards will have a colorful background and replace the paper ID cards of the past.
C.O.P. in Alberta are required by the RCMP to have a Criminal Record Check completed every year.
ACOPA is working with a team that is developing an I Patrol app that can be used by patrollers. This app is free and available for the apple products. An updated app will be available around August of 2016. This app can be used when patrolling to log data, will keep track of the time, location and enables the patroller to add a photo and relevant information on the patrol. At the end of the patrol, a report can be emailed with all the recorded information.
In September of 2015, the annual Workshop/Annual General Meeting for ACOPA was hosted by the Leduc C.O.P. group. In 2016, the Workshop/AGM will be hosted by the Airdrie C.O.P. group. This is an excellent opportunity for patrollers to meet those from other C.O.P. groups around Alberta. During the weekend, training is presented from RCMP Officers in specialized areas. Information on the upcoming Workshop can be found on the ACOPA website at www.acopa.ca
ACOPA recently started Facebook. There is a link on the ACOPA website home page for connecting to the ACOPA Facebook.
To see where the C.O.P. groups are located in Alberta, go to the ACOPA website and check the link to each of the C.O.P. groups.