The new program by Cobourg Police Service is off to a flying start since last week.
Launched in cooperation with C.R. Gummow School, CAPES (which stands for Cops and Partners Engaging Students) members of the Cobourg Police Service have been at C.R. Gummow School since last week educating all grades from kindergarton to grade eight.
Acting Sgt. Nick Moeller said it’s important for police to help create lasting connections with youth in the community for crime prevention and to help break down the barriers.
The perfect location for this, is in the schools and the goal is to educate the students about personal safety and healthy choices.
CAPES started in the school on April 4, and members of the police service along with CP police taking part in five different workshops discussing about various topics including health decisions, stranger danger, personal safety, nutrition, drugs, alcohol, healthy relationships, bullying, online safety, train safety and bike safety.
C.R. Gummow was chosen for the pilot project for a number of reasons including it is the largest elementary school in the area, but the program will be made accessible to both public and Catholic elementary schools throughout Cobourg in the future.
“It’s been going really well said, Vice Principal Martha Harp-McMurray.
“It’s been amazing.”
Cobourg Police Nick Moeller and Danielle McKeen along with Principal Mary Ellen French and McMurray have been working on the initiative since October.
“The kids are building relationships with the police officers and seeing all the resources they have to offer rather than being just the “cops on the street” they are the cops who are there to help them and they are also learning healthy decisions.”
“The curriculum is intense, but they are learning lots.”
From a policing perspective, Acting Sgt. Moeller said it’s been an amazing experience.
“I think it’s great for us and the kids. They see us here everyday for breakfast club and we’re having conversations with them in the hallway.”
“We’re breaking down the barriers,” knowing the students can talk to the police.
The workshops are very “hands-on” which helps students become actively involved in what they are learning.
One of the statistics the CP Police officer told the students that every 34 hours there is an incident with a train and person/vehicle in North America.
Across Canada, Ontario is leading by far the amount of incidents involving trains/vehicles and pedestrians.
Moeller said the railway officer brings knowledge of things that Cobourg Police wouldn’t be aware of which helps the students and gets the students to understand the danger.
“Given the magnitude of the pilot project it was a bit stressful at first, but it’s been excellent. We wanted that challenge having it in the biggest elementary school in Cobourg. We’re going to take it, tweak it, and get some feedback from the students, parent council and the teachers to find out what we need to change, or what we don’t need to change.”