Community Safety Officers (CSOs) are one step closer to aiding the RCMP in Portage la Prairie.

The first round of CSOs completed their training in Brandon and moved to Portage la Prairie. However, Chair of Portage's Public Safety Committee Colin Doyle says they still need some equipment to arrive before they can take to the streets.

"We're still waiting on some uniforms and personal protective equipment," explains Doyle. "We have obtained the first vehicle, and we're just waiting for it to be outfitted with lights and safety barriers."

The CSOs in Portage are currently gaining experience working with the RCMP on ride-alongs.

He adds that they've also secured an office space in the downtown area but haven't received the keys yet. Two of the officers they've hired completed their Manitoba training, and a third CSO has taken an equivalent level of training.

"We know that that crime is an issue everywhere," says Doyle. "This is just the city's way of adding that extra layer of police and hopefully building those relationships and making them very visible. They're there to help."

When the CSOs arrive on the street, they will start by introducing themselves to local businesses in the areas they'll be patrolling.

Doyle notes that a fourth CSO will be hired in the fall.