COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Citizens on Patrol Program volunteer William Taylor, Brandon Police Service Staff Sgt. Larry Yanick and COPP chair Ralph Warman are seen in Princess Park on Wednesday.
A city police officer will receive a prestigious provincial award for his work with a group of crime-fighting volunteers.
But Brandon Police Service Staff Sgt. Larry Yanick says he’s "humbled" and was just doing his job as a police officer when he helped the Brandon Citizens on Patrol Program expand its role.
"I feel very humbled by the award, but this is not the initiative of just one person," Yanick said. "The award actually belongs to all the members of the police service, and to Citizens on Patrol. These two groups worked hand-in-hand in making Brandon a much safer place to work, live and play in."
Yanick will be given Manitoba COPP’s lifetime membership award on Oct. 23, during the organization’s annual conference in Winnipeg.
The award isn’t handed out on a regular basis. It’s awarded as worthy candidates are identified.
Past recipients include former provincial justice ministers Vic Toews and Gord Mackintosh, and now-retired BPS chief Keith Atkinson.
While head of the Brandon force’s Operational Support Unit and COPP liaison officer, Yanick was a member of Manitoba COPP’s advisory committee for five years.
Manitoba COPP provincial co-ordinator Tracey Proctor said Yanick tackled his position on the committee with enthusiasm.
"It was evident right away that Larry was interested in the program," Proctor said.
Yanick helped to rewrite the training manual for Manitoba COPP volunteers and helped raise the profile of the Brandon Citizens on Patrol Program.
He worked with the local group to expand its role beyond foot patrols to traffic initiatives such as manning crosswalks near schools and a greater use of the SpeedWatch program.
SpeedWatch uses display boards that post the radar-recorded speeds of passing vehicles as a reminder for motorists to stay under the limit.
Yanick also spearheaded an initiative to have Brandon COPP members patrol evacuated neighbourhoods in the north end during the flood of spring 2011.
In addition, he worked to have city COPP members patrol the downtown skate park and neighbouring Princess Park.
Complaints of drinking were common at the park, and youths were robbed and intimidated at the skate park.
COPP members were credited with a drop in the number of times police were called to Princess Park.
Brandon COPP chairperson Ralph Warman credits Yanick as having been the ideas man behind the local group, and said the officer certainly deserves the award.
"His mind is going 100 miles a minute when it comes to COPP," Warman said. "He deserves everything he’s getting."
Yanick left his COPP-related duties in January when he became head of a patrol platoon. His role with COPP is now filled by BPS Staff Sgt. Randy Lewis.
Yanick said COPP volunteers, who currently number 46, are the "eyes and ears" for the BPS.
"They are all a very dedicated, hard-working and diligent group of volunteers," Yanick said. "They made the police service’s job a lot easier."
Yanick also previously received Manitoba COPP’s law enforcement officer of the year award.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 17, 2014