The process of locating an RCMP School Liaison Officer at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School is falling into place just as the return of classes begins during the first week of September.
At the Aug. 20 Swift Current City Council, CAO Susan Motkaluk updated the status regarding the selection and employment of an RCMP School Liaison Officer for the Swift Current Comprehensive High School.
“The RCMP have to put in a request to add a member to their team, so I think that’s percolating through their system right now,” Motkaluk noted during an update presented at Monday's Council meeting.
Sgt. Michelle Kenke of the Swift Current RCMP City Detachment acknowledged on Tuesday that a position number was just received.
“We’re in good shape to have that position starting towards the beginning of the year but it may be the first day of school or shortly thereafter. It’s moving ahead quite nicely.”
Motkaluk was pleased that two concurrent processes, the City's job description and the joint agreement with RCMP, have concluded very near the target date of September.
"We will be conducting our final interviews this week and the hiring date is set for next week."
The position of School Liaison Officer was an initiative that City Council approved in this year's budget, under the Safe and Caring Communities segment of their Strategic Plan.
“We’ve been working quite feverishly in partnership with the school and the RCMP and the City. We’ve been working on a job description and basically there’s due process, and with that there’s a lot of process as far as acquiring a new member and a little bit of a challenge sometimes in timing," Motkaluk admitted.
From the time Council first approved the Liaison Officer in March, Motkaluk felt everyone involved has been working steadily to keep the project moving forward.However, hiring for the position isn’t straightforward. If they hire from within the City’s current force for the Liaison Officer, they also have to “backfill” the vacant position they create there.
Motkaluk said the intention behind creating a Liaison Officer position at the Comp was to further promote crime prevention, mediation, conflict resolution and awareness.
“And so at the Comp High School we figured this was a great venue to further get the message out, but in addition to that we’re also looking at touring some of the other schools really just to try and involve as many kids as we can to ultimately ensure that our community is safe.”
The School Liaison Officer will not have a regular beat, but will instead focus entirely on schools. The City also wants to create a process whereby progress can be accurately measured.
“Ultimately we want this officer to have the most success. We want measurable results. We figure to give it the best shot we should focus 100 per cent on the schools.”
Motkaluk outlined some of the qualities they are seeking in the officer hired for this special assignment, citing approachability as a key trait.
“We wanted an education piece … so really having that comfortable social skill to just stand up in a classroom and in a group of kids and just feel really comfortable to share an awareness. Certainly we want all of the RCMP aspects to be covered off as well. There’s basically a competency list that the RCMP require be met, so we’ve certainly gone through all that, but beyond that we’re looking for some of the softer skills as well.
“We really wanted the officer in for the start of the school. Sometimes our wish list isn’t always achievable, but again we certainly want measurable results, so having the officer in place in the school during the school year is our ultimate goal, with a good period of time so we can have a chance to evaluate how is it working and if we need to adjust at all.”
Once hired, the Liaison Officer will have full RCMP member status and will carry a firearm.