Just days after being assigned to local school zones with the safety of young students in mind, a life-size cutout of a Kelowna RCMP officer cut-out has been “unlawfully removed” from his position outside an elementary school.
Police said that late last week, they were alerted to the disappearance of one of the cut-outs from a position outside AS Matheson Elementary school.
“Simply put, it is truly disappointing,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “This initiative was created with the safety of our youth in mind. Whoever is responsible for the theft has put students at risk.”
Police believe that the suspect or suspects departed the area with the traffic calming device sometime after 3:30 pm, after school had ended for the day.
Now they’re urging the public to contact the police if they spot one of the Mountie cut-outs away from school-owned property.
The strategy of using a cutout to try and deter speeders is similar to another tactic that has recently been employed by Coquitlam RCMP.
In that case, the detachment said the strategy has largely been a success.
“We’ve seen this sort of idea used before in the United Kingdom, but we haven’t seen it used here in combination with scientific monitoring,” said Coquitlam RCMP Sgt. Quentin Frewing. “It’s a low-cost, good-humoured way to improve our presence and perhaps make people think twice about speeding.”
During his time “on duty,” RCMP officers have been monitoring his impact using the BlackCat speed-monitoring system and say that the tactic “has exceeded expectations and has slowed down speeding drivers more effectively than originally anticipated.”
According to Const. Michael McLaughlin, one of the biggest surprises was the fact that “even after two weeks in one spot, people were still slowing down in the presence of Constable Scarecrow.”
In fact, the number of drivers going more than 10 km/h over the speed limit was half that compared to before Constable Scarecrow was installed, he added.
Now, anyone with any information on the missing police cutout in Kelowna is asked to contact the detachment at 250-762-3300. Alternately, those who would like to leave an anonymous tip can do so by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or by leaving a tip on their website.
“We encourage anyone who may be in possession of the cut-out, to do the right thing and call police directly, simply return the item to the school it was removed from or drop it off at any Kelowna RCMP Detachment or Community Policing Office,” said O’Donaghey.