Calgary’s School Resource Officer Reform Goes Back to Students – Calgary | The Canadian News

Change is on the horizon for Calgary school resource officer (SRO), but the Calgary Police Service seeks more input from students first.

At a meeting of the Calgary Police Commission on Tuesday, police said that initial online survey it did not produce the quality of data that CPS expected to address changes to the program.

CPS announced an independent review of school officials as part of a


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Further evaluation of the program, one of the steps Calgary Police is taking around anti-racism. Argyle PR was contracted to conduct the online survey, conducted during the pandemic.

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Only 16 percent of those surveyed were students, nine percent were high school students, two percent were high school students, and 5 percent were elementary students. Parents accounted for 45 percent of the initial results and 33 percent were staff students. CPS staff and SROs were also part of the study.

Respondents to the Calgary SRO program initial survey identify who they are.

brochure / Calgary Police Service

Respondents to the Calgary SRO program initial survey identify their ethnicity.

brochure / Calgary Police Service

Respondents self-identified their ethnicity. People who identified as “white” accounted for 33.8 percent. BIPOC respondents added up to 58 percent of responses. And 8.3 percent said they preferred not to say so.

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According to census data, Calgary’s non-white population is around 40 percent.

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Calgary police plan to interact with more students again during the first half of 2022, including “a plan to reach affected students.”

A round table with stakeholders will be held mid-year to develop an action plan.

An oversight board will be created to implement that action plan, with the goal of transforming the SRO program by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.


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CPS Chief Mark Neufeld said police did not want to simply opt for a majority opinion on how students were experiencing the SRO program, and wanted to apply an anti-racist lens to it.

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“Let’s make sure that we are actually moving beyond the initial steps to amplify the voices of those who are not experiencing the show in the same way and make sure that we can really connect with those people more closely to better understand what some of The problems will be, ”said the police chief.

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Sergeant. Ralph Veckenstedt said the SRO program is about building relationships with young Calgarians before they have to call the police.

“Because at some point in everyone’s life, no matter what it is, there will be an interaction with the police,” Veckenstedt said.

“Many times these interactions are not favorable, because they are at the lowest and darkest moments for most of the inhabitants of Calgar. So to be able to build relationships when you interact with the police in some of your best moments, when you are learning and maturing. “


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While the Calgary Police have 38 SRO positions in the system between public and separate school divisions, only 23 CPS members are deployed to schools.

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Assistant Principal Katie McLellan said Calgary police know that SRO programs in other cities have resulted in trauma.

“We recognize and know the history of other police services and their actions with students in schools,” he said.

Commissioners Susan Mallon and Heather Campbell questioned why the focus was on reforming Calgary’s SRO program given its history and how much the city has changed since the 1970s, rather than starting over using modern principles.

Veckenstedt said the program has changed markedly in the last 50 years.

“As events occur in real time, we do our best to adapt. Are we always aware of that? Absolutely not. But we take the information, we adjust our training, we adjust our practices and we move forward. “

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In his first meeting as a police commissioner, Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott wondered if, with the police’s commitment to alternative response models, SROs are empowered to deal with students at their worst.

“If our result is to intervene with students at the lowest points in their lives, before crime and mental health events, distress and disorders, is there a police officer trained enough to do that job and are SROs trained more than a standard? you would be a police officer, especially if you are looking for educational reform within training. “Walcott asked.

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Neufeld said that SROs would not be intended to replace the work of trained psychologists, but described SROs as part of a response, underscoring the importance of building relationships between police and citizens.


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The police chief said CPS should be open to any additional comments it receives in 2022.

“We are linked (to the SROs) to the extent that we know that our members have done an excellent job in the schools and have made a big difference in the lives of the students. So we want to celebrate the successes and we want to build on them, ”said Neufeld. “But let’s face it, we have to be open-minded in the consultation process.”

“I think tonight we heard from the commission to make sure we have an open mind and look at the issue or the ultimate goal of positive engagement for all young people. So we will look for the best ways to do it. “

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