Meet the Delta Police Volunteers
Retired Cst. Sean Doolan and volunteer Ben Cadinha
“Volunteering and training with the Delta Police has given me the confidence to start up conversations with total strangers,” says 18-year-old Ben Cadinha. “I can chat with people I’ve never met and help make them feel comfortable.”
Ben points out that lots of teenagers struggle with confidence and feeling like they belong; that’s one of the reasons why he’s a dedicated advocate for Delta Police youth programs.
Ben Cadinha is an exceptional young man, points out now retired Constable Sean Doolan. Cst. Doolan was Ben’s mentor throughout his time volunteering for the Delta Police Department. Now Cst. Doolan’s legacy will live on in the mentoring, coaching of Delta youth as they progress to adulthood and, in their turn, mentor the next generation.
“The volunteer program has given me a chance to help others in my community: an opportunity to give back and a real sense of pride, in myself and the work we do. I feel like I belong and that I fit into a tight community, where we are a team,” says Ben, about volunteering for the DPD, and giving two-hours a week to South Delta.
You might see Ben and other volunteers standing beside our busy roads, holding an iPad. That’s the Delta Police Stolen Auto Recovery System program. Among other duties, volunteers check license plates, looking for stolen ones. Ben and his co-volunteers identified two stolen plates in 2019.
Ben’s favourite job as a volunteer is patrolling on Delta Police Department bikes around Ladner. Through DPD, he learned how to cycle legally and understand proper road conduct and safety. When Ben is out on patrol, he watches out for anybody in distress, graffiti or vandalism, and anything that looks out of place. It’s a reassuring presence for many vulnerable citizens of Delta. The bike patrol is part of the Delta Police successful Community Crime Watch program.
One of the saddest moments that Ben has experienced as a volunteer was when a distraught young boy reported his wallet had been stolen.
“I wanted to say so much, but I remembered the things I needed to do and focused on reassuring the little guy. It was tough seeing him so upset,” says Ben.
Ben earned the Delta Police Student Police Academy’s “Chief Constable Award” in 2018 and he has plans to become a police officer. He sees the role of a police officer as one who can protect others. He feels it’s a genuinely worthwhile career and an opportunity to belong to a truly remarkable team.
Ben is attending the Justice Institute studying Law Enforcement and hopes to apply to the Delta Police Department’s Reserve Program.
“I’m grateful for so many opportunities that volunteering for Delta Police has given me,” said Priya Sandhu, “I think the number one thing is knowing how deeply my mentors care about my success.”
Priya will be the first of her extended family to complete a post-graduate education. She grew up in Surrey, where the police regularly engaged with the elementary children. Priya remembers the excitement she felt when the police attended. She loved the lights so much so that every Halloween she chose to be a cop.
Constable Jeremy Pearce has been a coach and mentor to her, supporting Priya and other volunteers in their efforts to improve the programs our community station provides.
One of the programs that Priya and her three co-volunteers have spearheaded is offering North Delta high school students a safe, welcoming and fun place to connect, and find support. The program “Active Alliance” focuses on providing mentorship through sport.
Priya and her co-volunteers identified the gap in youth programs, designed “Active Alliance” and Constable Pearce helped the initiative come to life with the assistance of the principal at Seaquam Secondary.
“We play sport so we can mentor naturally, without standing there and just lecturing. Delta Police officers join us all the time, and they play basketball, in their uniforms and everything! They aren’t hanging around the walls. It’s about really engaging and being there,” says Priya.
Priya shared a specific incident where Constable Pearce was able to provide conflict resolution skills and helped navigate a stressful, emotional situation for one of the students.
When Priya and her co-volunteers launched the program in the Seaquam gym, 28 students showed up. Now they regularly have 35-40 students hanging out, playing basketball or just being present in a space they feel safe, supported and understood. She hopes to see the program extended Delta-wide.
“I think it’s successful because all four of us volunteers SHOW UP!” explained Priya. “We are consistent. We are a cohesive team. We are there for them in genuine ways, and we create natural settings for students to interact with us.”
One of the saddest things that she experiences when doing her Community Crime Watch shift is finding people experiencing homelessness. “It’s tough because I feel so helpless to do anything. I wish we had more solutions for homeless people.” When she feels sad or upset about something, Priya says that she debriefs with her team, they talk about it with both Constable Pearce and Sergeant Jasmins on hand to provide support and mentoring.
Priya speaks a lot about her team, how being connected to truly good humans makes her feel and the leadership skills her mentors have taught.
“Mentoring is about encouraging our volunteers and those we interact with, to see their dreams and supporting them to achieve those goals,” says Constable Pearce.
“Watching the police officers work has changed my perspectives,” says Priya. “They are good, kind and generous human beings who demonstrate leadership every day. I think that makes them great leaders.”
Delta Police is fortunate to have such a talented and empathetic student doing a practicum here, in addition to her dedicated hours as a volunteer.
Mike Reoch’s first Community Crime Watch patrol in Tilbury was eventful – but in an unexpected way. He says he was nervous as he and his partner drove down a dark alley. Mike saw the silhouette of a man in one of the office windows above. Nobody was supposed to be in the offices at this time of night, so Mike shone his flashlight up into the window. That’s when Mike saw the gunman pointing his Colt 1911* straight at him!
New volunteers often find John Wayne’s cardboard cut-out a little disturbing when out on patrol at night.
One of Delta Police’s key initiatives in 2020 is to address property crime at Delta businesses, which is why volunteers do patrols through the Tilbury area at night. Constable Ken Kirk, Mike’s mentor and volunteer coach, is building a database and engagement platform to keep businesses informed, and encourage the sharing of information and build trust. Mike is an integral part of that initiative, diligently putting in the hours needed to create that digital communication highway.
When you speak to Mike, it’s challenging to get him to talk about himself; he’s a humble, kind man who hopes to become a police officer. He’s also chronic pain specialist who teaches advanced pain management post-grad courses in Europe. Bilingual, he has taught students in both Paris and Montreal. This year he travels to Britain and Ireland to share his deep understanding of pain, its causes, impacts and remedies.
Knowing Mike’s specialty, one can understand why many people find his quiet presence reassuring. “There are so many aspects to pain. I can see it in people, but unless they share, I don’t intrude.”
He feels a deep connection with Delta’s homeless population, many of whom became homeless as a result of an injury, mental or physical. Again, he deflects from his own experiences, refocusing to talk about his mentor. “Ken [Constable Kirk] is amazing. When Ladner’s Rita died, Ken went to the bottle depot to create an account so that people could donate to her partner’s wellbeing.” Rita and her partner Steve, had long been part of the fabric of Ladner’s community.
One of Mike’s greatest joys volunteering with Delta Police are the events that Constable Kirk organizes with Delta Community Living Society – Ladner Connections. Mike’s wife, Marcy, had an uncle who had Down Syndrome. “He was the most beautiful human I have ever known.”
Mike feels that the Delta Police Volunteer program brings together some great people, and is a grassroots program that builds better communities. “It’s a reflection,” he said, “of the police officers in DPD. It’s not until you get to work beside them that you realize just how much they give of themselves. They’re the best of humans.”
Police theory, as it relates to community policing, is an interest of Mike’s. He describes Constable Kirk’s “Broken Windows” management style. Mike once asked him why he cared so much about graffiti – Constable Kirk asks volunteers to report any that they come across when out on CCW patrol.
“Ken told me that if we care about the little stuff, we avoid it becoming a big problem. Focusing on graffiti, investigating it, we get a heads up on issues within our community, and we can intervene in time, in positive ways that change outcomes.”
Another favourite moment in Mike’s time with the DPD so far as a volunteer was at Christmas when he was part of the “Pay it Forward” initiative. At the heart of “Pay it Forward” is the idea that when we receive good fortune, we pass it on to another person by doing a kind deed. Mike is somebody who has lived his life by that motto.