A local hero has hung up his cape after nearly three decades of volunteering to help keep Burnaby safe.
“I think if you’re living in the area, you have a duty to keep the area as you would like it,” longtime community policing volunteer Ray Allen told the NOW.
And that’s just what he has done.
“Generally, I think we’re doing quite well in Burnaby, and it’s up to the citizens to keep it that way,” he said.
Allen – a Birmingham, UK native who has lived in Burnaby since 1963 – began nearly 30 years of community safety volunteering in 1990, as Block Captain of his Edmonds-area Block Watch group.
When the RCMP and other city officials began implementing the new-fangled concept of “community policing” in the mid-1990s, he was on board from the start, serving as the chair of the southeast district community policing advisory committee from 1997 to 2010.
Allen also worked with the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness through his retired men’s group at St. Alban’s church, making sandwiches on a monthly basis for a homeless drop-in on Thursdays at Southside Community Church.
His community volunteering earned him a Local Hero Award in 2010 and a 2013 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award 2013.
During the last couple of years, however, Allen said he has had to cut down on this volunteering activities to spend more time with his wife, who is not in good health.
After 24 years on the community policing advisory committee, he officially stepped down on June 26.
“The commitment that Ray has displayed over the past 24 years to community through his volunteer work and as a member of the Community Policing Advisory Committee is commendable,” Chief Supt. Deane Burleigh told the NOW. “Volunteers such as Ray add so much value to our community policing initiatives. We will miss him and his energy, dedication and insights into the community.”