Residents have a chance to be showcased for their work in improving safety in the community with the 28th annual Alberta Community Justice Awards. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, businesses and groups who have made contributions to community safety, crime prevention and the criminal justice system.

Last year, Elna Eidsvik received the award in leadership for her work with the Vermilion Citizens on Patrol Society.

“I believe in honour and justice, and I believe in people being able to help themselves. It’s all about empowering the community and the people in the community,” Eidsvik says her involvement in C.O.P is all about making her community a better, safer place to live.

Eidsvik, Chairman of C.O.P in Vermilion, played a part in the creation of the organization in 2009. Her role involves conducting community-wide patrols and keeping in contact with the Vermilion RCMP, the town of Vermilion peace officer and the local Rural Crime Watch with the aim of preventing crime.

“When we started we found that there was an immediate drop in the amount of petty vandalism that was going on.”

Eidsvik also had a hand in helping the formation of the Mannsville C.O.P, and from 2013-2015 she was the Director of Region 4 for the Alberta Citizens on Patrol Association board of directors.

Through the years the organization has had to adapt to the wave of technology, Eidsvik says there is less on foot patrolling and more notifications through social media, which can have more of an impact.

“Mannvilles got it, Kitscotys got it, Marwaynes got it, and Dewberry has it. You could go on your phones any hour of the day or night and post.”

The public nominated awards will be presented in five categories including leadership. Eligible nominees include Albertans who work in crime prevention organizations, youth justice committees, victim services and restorative justice programs. Anyone looking to nominate a community leader or organization can head to Alberta.ca. Nominating will end on March 22, 2019.