Morden Police Constable Jeff Forster will take on a new role for the next few months, as Community Resource Officer working with Western School Division and other community organizations. Forster said presentations and work in the past has been done but it was inconsistent and fragmented, along with other shortcomings.
Forster added another reason for trying the program.
"We saw it as an opportunity to reach out and connect to the newcomers and the community as a whole in a more positive light. As people know, sometimes the immediate reaction when they see a police cruiser somewhere or a police officer, they automatically think that somebody's in trouble or getting arrested.”
Forster hopes this new role will clarify that.
“With this program we're implementing, we want to change that perception. and show there's more to policing than just arresting people and throwing them in jail and writing tickets. We want to sustain what we already have in our partnerships and grow those partnerships, enhance them with the schools and the community as a whole, to work together to solve problems."
He has dived right into work this week.
"I've been assigned the role of a Community Resource Officer for a four-month pilot project. We've approached various community groups and schools about our ideas, and there's been a very positive reception to our ideas. We actually started doing it this week. So, I hit the ground running. It's a new territory for everyone here, but there's been nothing but positive feedback."
He outlined some of what his work will involve.
"Presentations and education in the schools we have done in the past, student mentorship programs in the school, I want to get that up and running again, help with school patrol, liaison with them, help train them. We can maybe enhance our school zone traffic enforcement and participate in school events like I Love to Read Month, intramurals, that sort of thing, and maybe identify some at risk youth and partner with the schools and different agencies to maybe try to address some of those issues that are affecting them before they become a big problem. So, a lot of proactive policing is going to go into this position."
Forster explained some of the goals the program aspires to reach.
"We're looking for a better perception of police and how they conduct themselves, as well as hopefully a reduction in crime in the community, and hopefully steering some of those kids that may be walking the line into a better direction, which will benefit the community as a whole."
Forster summed it all up.
"The main part of this program is we want to build relationships with the staff there at the school. Obviously, foremost is the kids. And get them to see police in a different light, and like I mentioned before, we're not just going out and arresting people, throwing them in jail, and writing people tickets. We genuinely do want to help people as much as we can, and kids as much as we can."
The pilot-program will run until December.
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