NORTH Vancouver RCMP are launching a new initiative throughout district’s elementary schools. Power 5 promotes a simple but powerful concept: students who experience positive police interaction early in life have a reduced risk of developing criminal behaviours.
Uniform police officers will drop by before or after school, or during recess or lunch, and greet the students with a fist bump. “In our experience, that contact point, that interaction, lights this incredible spark of positive energy,” said Sgt. Peter DeVries on Tuesday. Often it leads into a game of pick up basketball, soccer, ball hockey, or four square. Sometimes it leads to an impromptu Q&A about all the things on our duty belts. This week I was offered some cheesies.”
When the officers show up, students are encouraged to approach them and get a fist bump. Each visit lasts 15-30 minutes, depending on the length of the school break and on calls for police service that day.
“We do already have a dedicated Youth Intervention Unit who regularly attend the schools and connect with students and school officials,” said DeVries. “But the Power 5 initiative will involve all uniform members from the Detachment.”
DeVries said the program will also generate increased interaction with teachers and parents. School Board officials, principals and teaching staff have been briefed on the idea and fully support it.
“Let us know what your kids are saying,” said DeVries. “We’re pretty sure they’ll come home and excitedly tell you about the cops that came to school and played soccer with them. That’s what we’re aiming for.”