Smithers has a new community safety officer.
David Pruden recently moved to town from Nipawin, SK where he was a bylaw officer and emergency measures officer.
He said he and his wife are happy to be back in B.C.
“I knew this area from when I was in the RCMP and Prince Rupert in the 90s,” he said. “I really liked this area then and still like it now. And it is a beautiful place that has kind of those more epic mountains with the snow cover. And the other thing is, it’s far north, although there’s tourists and a decent amount of people coming to the area, it’s not inundated, like some other parts of B.C.”
Smithers council also recently appointed Pruden to Bylaw Enforcement Officer for the town.
He’s looking forward to continuing to help revive the Citizens on Patrol (COP) program.
“It’s a very active program in many communities,” he noted. “And it is something that gets citizens involved and certainly helps everyone become more aware of what’s going on in the community, not only when they’re actively engaged in doing citizens on patrol, but now you kind of get that heightened sense of awareness of other stuff when you’re not actively doing it.
“So, that certainly helps bring more awareness for everyone and helps everyone recognize things that may need to be reported or seen. And it just again, it engages the community and in the whole community being a safer, more crime-free place.”
Pruden attended the open house on March 27 that aimed to get feedback on possible changes to the parks bylaw, where approximately 200 residents filled the gym and many people spoke against allowing temporary overnight sheltering locations in local parks.
“I was pleased to see how many people showed up. What it told me was, there’s a lot of people in Smithers, that care about the community, regardless of what end of the spectrum or their comments that they made,” he said. “I thought it was fantastic that so many people were willing to stand up and share points of view.”
The town has been without a community safety officer since November when the former one parted ways with the town after less than two months on the job.
The town did not give a reason for his sudden departure.