Edmonton police have followed through on the changing concept of the School Resource Officer program that Chief Rod Knecht hinted at last month. Four Public, and four Catholic schools have been selected to have constables in junior highs.
Only the Catholic district is going younger. “Two of our schools are elementary junior high,” said Superintendent Joan Carr. “So I think that is a good opportunity for us to also test that possibility with younger children as well. That is going to be something new for our elementary children.”
They’ll use H.E. Beriault, Ben Calf Robe, St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Nicholas while Edmonton Public will see school resource officers in Rosslyn, Spruce Avenue, Kate Chegwin, and T.D. Baker.
“One of the criteria we looked at is to ensure there was that representation in different quadrants of the city,” Carr said.
Superintendent Darrel Robertson, of Edmonton Public Schools already sees this as a success. “The more professionals and the more adults that we can get building positive relationships with kids will ultimately impact them in positive ways into the future.”
“We’re going to evaluate the effectiveness of it. We have experience with school resource officers in our schools and we know the positive effect on relationships and learning experiences for kids in the school. We’d expect this pilot would replicate all those learnings that we’ve had over the years.”
As a balance to the budget on the program, two community police stations closed Thursday, in Namao and Old Strathcona. Two more will close in West Edmonton Mall and Ottewell on October 1.