For the last 30 years Ponoka resident Dave Piel has volunteered his time as an auxiliary constable to help out the Ponoka RCMP.
Peil was recognized at the detachment for his long-standing efforts Friday, May 15 with many staff and Mounties showing their appreciation.
He was presented with a large framed image of a Mountie on a horse and for Peil, the gift was a wonderful gesture. In the 30 years of volunteering as an auxiliary officer, Piel said he has seen his fare share of cases.
“Pretty much anything imaginable, you name it, I’ve been involved with it,” said Piel.
He has assisted investigations of homicides, kidnapping and says despite the seriousness of some cases, he would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Piel started out working days when he was off from his regular job and he later on decided to work nights and weekends when more events occurred. He has also helped out with tri-services (military network involving army and air force) alongside other community events involving the Ponoka RCMP.
“Basically you’re sworn in as a peace officer and under the members’ direction, you have the authorities to do everything that they do,” said Piel.
He had to undergo training and testing before he could be a volunteer with the RCMP. Piel’s wife Lorna said she is proud of his dedication to the detachment. “He has such a need and want to support the RCMP,” said Lorna.
Insp. David Elliot, operations support officer for central Alberta district, was in attendance and he is impressed with Piel and his commitment to Ponoka. A Mountie that Elliot works with remembers working with Piel 26 years ago.
Elliot said auxiliary officers are able to provide important help to RCMP members and they can assist whenever needed.
Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm said the auxiliary officers — more than 400 in Alberta — are an important part of a local detachment.
“It serves as a kind of bridge in the community and the detachment,” said Chisholm.
He said auxiliary officers have background knowledge of their towns and can provide important information to new Mounties. He also praised Piel’s dedication.
“To put in 30 years of volunteer service in the community is outstanding. That’s a huge dedication he’s put forth,” said Chisholm.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t mean I have to quit now,” joked Piel, who says he intends to continue volunteering at the detachment.