The Lloydminster public and Catholic school divisions will each see a police officer placed in their schools.
The City has entered into a funding agreement with both school divisions in order to provide a School Resource Officer that will provide greater safety for the students and staff, as well as foster relationships between the youth and police. City Councilor Stephanie Munro says the students in the schools will be able to access a police officer if needed rather than an officer entering the school due to an incident.
“With so many calls, 182 calls last year getting called into the school system are some of the statistics and that’s taking a plain officer off the street that should be doing other things and taking him into the school system not knowing the children. This way these individuals and these officers are going to be solely based out of the school. They’re gonna have relations with the students in the schools.”
The program will allow each RCMP officer to work together with the City to share information on ways to reduce certain risky behaviours the youth are participating in, as well as track the impact of the program over time in Lloydminster. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says this is a positive change for the community.
“For many residents, they may say well why our kids went to school and there was no RCMP officers or Student Resource Officers there, but today’s day has changed. We’re dealing with cannabis, we’re dealing with opioids, we’re dealing with suicide, bullying at record levels in some cases so I think this is just part of society today.”
The five-year agreement will have the Health Foundation making a one time donation to the program of $50,000 in the first year. LPSD will give $50,000 as well in the first year, $40,000 in the second year, $25,000 the third year and $15,000 the fourth year with no funding in the final year of the agreement. LCSD will follow in the same footsteps with funding but will contribute $25,000 less.
The City will make the most financial contributions with a total of $465,000 in five years. There will be an option for any party to opt-out or reconsider the agreement after three years. Munro says that she foresees the City continuing with this program for longer than five years.
Currently, there is a Resource Officer in place that is funded by the City. The officer is shared between both school divisions with approximately 10 hours per week spent at schools. The new SRO’s are expected to start this fall.