Citizens on Patrol: A Family Effort

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Some people are content to sit back and enjoy their retirement years. But housewife and mother of three, Mdm Periasamy Savithri, 75, chose a more active pursuit — she began volunteering for COP around 2010. Started in 1999, COP is a volunteer scheme by the Singapore Police Force that enables patrols by the community to alert the Police when they observe suspicious activities or persons, as well as engage the community on crime prevention measures. “My mum enjoys going on patrols. She would tell me about the camaraderie and the sense of community spirit that she and other COP members share,” says Mr Dharmendra.

Around 2014, Mdm Savithri encouraged her son to join COP. As Mr Dharmendra, 54, a resort officer at a country club in Yishun, works shifts, volunteering would be difficult for him. However, his mother told him that he would find the experience meaningful. Seeing how he could also use the opportunity to bond more with his mother, Mr Dharmendra eventually joined COP. Mr Dharmendra schedules his work roster ahead in order to perform COP duties with his mother on some evenings.
During their patrolling shifts around the Woodlands neighbourhood, which lasts about 90 minutes each time, Mdm Savithri and Mr Dharmendra meet and interact with residents. Some common questions asked by residents include “What makes you want to do this?” and “Why be a COP volunteer?”. Proudly, the mother-and-son pair would explain that this is “our neighbourhood, our home”. “We want to play a part to make it safe and secure; every small action counts. This way, everyone can enjoy a safe environment and have a better quality of life,” shares Mr Dharmendra.

Hearing this, the residents feel more appreciative of the COP volunteers’ commitment to keep the community safe. “They would thank us. We feel encouraged when we see the familiar faces, smiling and waving at us,” says Mr Dharmendra.
Besides convincing Mr Dharmendra to join COP, Mdm Savithri managed to encourage her daughter-in-law, Ms Imelda Keun, and granddaughter to sign up as volunteers too. “A family that volunteers together, stays together!,” says Mr Dharmendra.

The family’s fondest and proudest moment was when Mdm Savithri, Mr Dharmendra and Ms Keun joined the marching contingent for the ceremonial parade at the Home Team Show and Festival 2017. Says Mr Dharmendra, “We hope more people would be inspired by our story and join COP to be part of the HTVN family!”
“I don’t say it often enough but I love you and want you to know how much you mean to me. I wish that you will continue to be healthy and enjoy doing what you love to do — which is volunteering your time for community work. Happy Mother’s Day, Mum!”
Mr Dharmendra, COP volunteer

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