If there's a public gathering, event or celebration in Sunny Tsawwassen, you can almost be assured that Constable Leisa Schaefer will be there as the smiling face of the Delta Police. A District Liaison Officer for Tsawwassen, Schaefer works primarily out of the District Community Policing Office (DCPO) at the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall.
"A huge aspect of this new model is community engagement," says Schaefer. "It's my job to ensure I am engaging with the community whether it be Cappuccino with a Cop or I'm doing presentations to the Waterford for seniors or Kin Village."
Formerly named CoPS (Community Policing Station), the police have maintained the primarily civilian volunteer-run presence in Tsawwassen since 1994. Originally located at 1108 56th Street, the police moved the station to the mall about 16 months ago to provide a centralized location for their services.
"Our walk-in traffic has gone through the roof," says Schaefer. "We're much more visible to the community now."
Tsawwassen's DCPO is comprised of 45 volunteers who assist in numerous programs that Delta Police operate in conjunction with partners like ICBC:
There are numerous other services conducted by the DCPO, including the CASA program which keeps an eye on homes while people go on vacation, Community Crime Watch (Fridays, Saturdays, and some weekdays), Park Patrol and Bike Patrol.
Schaefer says they also conduct a CPTED program (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) that conducts security checks on homes and businesses that have previously been targeted by thieves.
There are 500 businesses attached to their Business Watch program, for which Schaefer sends out monthly newsletters warning businesses about recent crimes.
Despite the fact the crime rates in Tsawwassen are comparatively small when looking at other communities, the Delta Police operate under a "no call is too small" credo. But it's not all about finding bad guys.
"If I'm out there doing Cappuccino with a Cop, it gives patrol an opportunity to come out and engage with the community in a positive manner rather than just making arrests," says Schaefer, who has been a member of the force for 15 years.
In the 1940s and 1950s, under the leadership of Delta Police Chief Scott Fenton, her grandfather Alfred Dennis and father Arthur Raines were the first night watchmen in Delta. It was Leisa Schaefer who, among her eight siblings, decided to carry the tradition of police work to a third generation.
Schaefer not only works in Tsawwassen, she lives here, which provides plenty of chances to get to know people both on and off the job.
"One of my roles is to know what's happening in the community and by living and working here I get to do that."
The DCPO is always looking for new volunteers. Drop by their office at the Tsawwassen Centre Mall to fill out an application and speak to Schaefer. A criminal background check is required.