At the final City Council Governance and Priorities Committee Meeting for this year, Mayor Aalbers and city council were given an update with the School Resource Officer program.
Sgt. Sarah Knelsen presented data from the program which began in September and features RCMP officers in LPSD and LCSD schools. The School Resource Officers are meant to ensure student safety while building relationships between the RCMP and Lloydminster’s youth.
Const. Grant Kirzinger of LPSD and Const. Michael Hagel from LCSD spoke to the Mayor and council about their experiences in the school districts. Both officers shared stories of connecting with students who were struggling and providing guidance to both students and staff members.
The program is a partnership funded by LPSD, LCSD, the City of Lloydminster and the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation. Mayor Aalbers says that while city council is always cautious about where additional money is spent, the report presented to him points to the program’s value.
“This clearly indicates that this was money well spent,” says Aalbers. “When you hear the stories from the officers in schools about the impact they’re having, the relationships, they’re building, and hopefully the lives they’re changing, you can’t put a price tag on it.”
Aalbers says that the social costs of dealing with crime outweigh the costs of the SRO program, which he sees as a valuable prevention method.
“If we can turn someone that’s having challenges and help them stay out of jail, or help their family situation, the social costs that we would incur if they weren’t there, I think its money well spent,” says Aalbers. “That’s what it comes down to.”
This is the first three-month update to the School Resource Officer program. A final look will be given after a full year of the program.