The Moose Jaw Police Service Community and Strategic Services Unit gave a presentation last Thursday as part of the Citizens' Police Academy program.
Constables Reggie Pawliw and Jayme Hoffman talked about the importance of fostering connections between police officers and the community.
"With social media the way it is now and some of the negativity behind policing, it's very important to develop that positive rapport and positive relationship with the community to show that we are human," Pawliw remarked. "We are not just there because we have a badge. We want to actually help people."
"We want the students and community members to be able to talk to us and trust us," added Hoffman.
The Community and Strategic Services Unit does a variety of presentations on online safety, drug awareness, bike safety, dabbing and vaping, and a special presentation for newcomers on the duties of police officers in Moose Jaw.
These police presentations were a fond memory for Pawliw when he was young.
"When I was young, I remember some officers came to school for presentations, and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world!"
Officers in the Community and Strategic Services Unit are very active in Moose Jaw's school community.
"Primarily, we go in and give presentations on bullying and online safety," Hoffman explained. "We also go in and just visit and have school calls that we follow up on."
"It's important to start [visiting] at a young age because it gets them that first impression that will get stuck in their memory," Pawliw mentioned. "I think it is important to build that positive smile, laugh, or whatever it may be for them to trigger a happy relationship with a police officer."
Another important avenue for Community and Strategic Services is their interaction with newcomers in Moose Jaw.
"Different groups come in from all across the world. They have had different incidents or tragedies where they came from where they didn't trust the police," Pawliw commented. "Showing my face, [letting] them see me, talk to me and their children builds that connection again so they are able to trust police [in Canada].
The police unit hosts and participates in a variety of events including Sidewalk Days, Touch a Truck, Remembrance Day, Student Expo, Police Station/Vehicle Tours, Bike Rodeos, Ride-Along, and "Cops, Pops, and Pizza".
The Community and Strategic Services Unit is now operating out of the former Times-Herald building located at 44 Fairford St W. The unit consists of Cst. Jayme Hoffman, Cst. Reggie Pawliw, Cst. Rod Zoerb, and Staff Sgt. Taylor Elder. Sgt. Ryan Lawrence will also be joining the unit.