Municipalities, public high schools establish RCMP School Resource Officer position
A dedicated RCMP School Resource Officer (SRO) is now serving the nearly 2,200 students who attend the Tri-Municipal Region’s two public high schools, thanks to a formal agreement made between the Town of Stony Plain, the City of Spruce Grove, Parkland County and Parkland School Division.
“The Town is proud to work with its regional partners and the local police in committing to this much-needed program,” said Ken Lemke, mayor of Stony Plain.
“The SRO program is vital to our efforts to ensure the ongoing wellbeing of our youth, who are the future of our communities. The SRO will be a confidant and mentor, educator and counsellor, role model and protector for students.”
The five partners have agreed to a three-year contract for this service, the cost of which will be shared equally between the three municipalities and the two high schools.
“This is an excellent example of how, by working together, we can provide a service that will benefit students across the Tri-Municipal Region,” said Stuart Houston, mayor of Spruce Grove. “Having a dedicated SRO will be a huge benefit to our youth, as they not only complete high school, but make plans for their future following graduation.”
The SRO will provide an aspect of community policing that significantly enhances and supports the three communities.
”The youth of the community are our greatest legacy,” said Rod Shaigec, mayor of Parkland County. “Ensuring their safety and well-being is paramount to Parkland County council and administration. By aligning our goals with that of the Tri-Municipal Region and the RCMP, we are able to provide this much needed resource to the local youth.”
Sgt. Patricia Chornoby, a member of the RCMP, started the SRO position in September and is dedicated to providing a safe and caring learning environment in the schools, by balancing prevention, intervention, education and enforcement – in addition to fulfilling duties as a police officer.
"This is a wonderful announcement for Parkland School Division and for our communities,” said Kelly Wilkins, deputy superintendent for Parkland School Division. “The presence of a SRO in our two high schools offers a huge support to students and their families. There is lots of evidence to show that this kind of pro-active relationship-building and prevention has a positive influence on students’ success. We are grateful for the commitment of our partners and so thankful for the opportunity to have this additional support in place for our students."
The SRO will work directly in both schools during the school year, providing a wide range of supports and services. Although the role is not intended to be an enforcement officer, the SRO will respond as a police officer to emergencies or crises, as required.
“This new position is evidence of the high level of cooperation between elected officials, the community, schools and the RCMP to provide significant and meaningful roles in the mentoring and development of our next generation of citizens and leaders,” said Insp. Gary Graham of the Spruce Grove-Stony Plain RCMP Detachment.
The officer’s primary functions are:
- to ensure a safe and caring place of learning in the public high schools, balancing prevention, intervention and enforcement;
- to increase positive youth interactions with police members; and
- to provide positive role models for youth.
The Province dictates the agreement must be made between the RCMP and one of the municipalities. As the Town’s contract with the RCMP provides the greatest cost-value to all parties, the Town has added the position to its contract with the RCMP. The service will be funded equally by the three municipalities and the two schools, at approximately $20,000 each per year.
On Nov. 9, Sgt. Jim Martin of the Spruce Grove-Stony Plain RCMP Detachment joined Parkland School Division representatives and the principals from both high schools at Stony Plain Memorial Composite High School to witness the five partners sign an official Memorandum of Understanding. Several students from both schools were also there.
About the Tri-Municipal Region
The Tri-Municipal Region consists of the Town of Stony Plain, the City of Spruce Grove and Parkland County. The three municipalities work together to make decisions that benefit all three communities – in a proactive, cost-effective and well-managed way.
About Parkland School Division’s public high schools
Parkland School Division, No. 70 operates two high schools (Stony Plain Memorial Composite and Spruce Grove Composite) that serve 2,189 high school students from Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County. The Division also serves a small contingency of high school students through several outreach programs.
About the Spruce Grove-Stony Plain RCMP
The Spruce Grove-Stony Plain RCMP District provides front-line policing services to citizens within the Tri-Municipal Region, under contracts with each municipality. The RCMP is the Canadian national police service and an agency of the Ministry of Public Safety Canada.