Police School Impact
In 2015, YouthLink and the Calgary Police Service (CPS) initiated a partnership program, designed to target Grade 6 students of vulnerable populations. This program offers an enriched version of the Grade 6 Field Trip program; delivering four days of immersive crime prevention experiences which are led by in-uniform CPS officers, YouthLink Educators and CPS Auxiliaries.
Over the four days of programming, students gain a true perspective of the important role police play in their community by participating in a number of patrol scenarios and training exercises as well as completing a forensics investigation. Students also learn from all five Safe for Life Presentations with an added police perspective on the issues surrounding drugs, gangs, healthy relationships and online safety. Having uniformed CPS officers deliver programs promotes understanding and builds trust between students and their local police service. Time is also spent in a fun and casual environment (playing sports and other activities), which provides an out-of-uniform opportunity for officers to further break down barriers that may exist in relation to their uniform.
Youth aged 11-12 of vulnerable populations, identified by community-specific data on risk and protective factors as well as requests by teachers (an application process that measures qualifying characteristics) and populations that would benefit from increasing positive police-community relations. Our selection process seeks to include classes with the following demographic characteristics:
- New Canadians.
- Live in subsidized or low-income housing.
- Live in communities with high-call frequency for police services.
- Student(s) involvement or potential involvement in crime-related behaviour.
Main Goals of Program
- Build positive police-community relations with participants.
- Encourage participants to engage in community and home-based conversations and actions that promote good citizenship and help increase the positive perspective on police within their community.
- Develop positive decision-making skills to avoid criminal behaviour and victimization.
- Acquire an understanding of the important roles of police and citizens pay in community safety.
- Develop an appreciation for self-reflection, taking responsibility and getting help.
- Increase perception of a deserving future and self-worth.
- Introduce effective behavioral skills for reducing anxiety, impulse behaviour and aggression.
- Increase knowledge of and reduce negative stigma of substance abuse and addiction.
- Increase accessing resources for support.
An environment built for learning and developing trust
A key element to the success of this program is YouthLink’s safe and positive learning environment, which provides CPS officers an opportunity to build trust and lasting relationships with participating youth and teachers. For maximum learning and participation, during each Safe for Life Presentation the class is divided into groups of 10-12 students. Small groups support a comfortable environment for students to share ideas, ask questions and take part in respectful discussions. Tough questions are encouraged throughout the day, allowing individuals explore the topics and information important to them.
Delivered by In-Uniform CPS Officers, CPS Auxiliaries and YouthLink Educators
CPS Officers and CPS Auxiliaries are selected to deliver programs based on their genuine passion for helping kids stay safe and their ability to relate to youth and effectively build quality relationships. Increasing positive police-community relations is important among vulnerable populations as the result is an increase in the reporting of crime, public cooperation and the likeliness of individuals and family members to seek the support of police when needed.
Officers, Auxiliaries and Educators are also trained on how to respond to concerning questions and/or disclosures, which implements a safety net for students who may reach out for help.
Made Accessible by Enbridge
In order to make this program 100% accessible to the schools that need this program the most, classes are bused to and from YouthLink Calgary on the Enbridge Bus.
This program continues to receive extremely positive feedback from both teachers and students.