Calgary, AB,

High school students get taste of policing

Grade 12 students from schools across Alberta are finding out what it is like to be a police officer today, during the annual Student Police Academy being held at Heritage Park.

The day is an opportunity for the students to learn more about the Calgary Police Service and see if it might be a good career choice for them. Police officers will teach the students how they approach different calls and will explain what the youth need to do if they want to become police officers. The teenagers then get to put on uniforms and apply what they learned in training scenarios throughout the park.

While many of the scenarios give the students a chance to have fun chasing suspects and solving crimes, the participants also have to face the harder aspects of policing, like dealing with domestic conflict, addressing addiction and telling people that a loved one has died.

“It is always so neat to see the students embrace the role and have fun living their dream of being a cop for a few hours,” says Constable Carlamay Blight, a Calgary Police Service School Resource Officer. “But the real benefit comes from them understanding how tough policing can be. Showing them that police officers are normal people dealing with really hard situations hopefully helps give them a new perspective on the police officers in their community.”

The event is organized by School Resource Officers across the city, in partnership with Heritage Park and other units in the Service. Students get the chance to hear what different units do and hear directly from officers what it is like to work in policing. The participants also leave understanding the importance of verbal communication, conflict resolution and arbitration skills as an alternative to force, which are key skills in life.

In total 108 students are expected to participate in the Student Police Academy this year. This event is made possible with contributions from Heritage Park, Calgary Co-op and Peter’s Drive-In.