Constable Jennifer Davis is the new school liaison officer with the Portage la Prairie School Division.
Policing while educating
School liaison officer Jennifer Davis has an office set up at Portage Collegiate and has been in the role since the start of the school year. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)
Keeping a lookout while informing and building relationships.
The city of Portage la Prairie has a new school liaison officer as RCMP Constable Jennifer Davis took over for Const. Amber Moyer in the Portage la Prairie School Division at the start of the 2017-18 school year.
“My primary role is school calls because I’m first and foremost an RCMP constable,” says Davis. “Anything that happens on school property becomes my files or cases. So any kind of fights or harassment, bullying, sexting, or thefts inside the school, will be directed to me. I’ll even be called for mental health issues.”
Davis is a six-year vet with the RCMP and has been in Portage la Prairie for the past two. She feels it’s important to be working at proactive and preventative policing with students. She started at the beginning of the school year but did get some shadow time with Moyer during a transitional period which gave her the opportunity to meet some of the faculty and students.
“I do have an office at Portage Collegiate which is handy when talking to youth and getting statements,” says Davis. “But kids will stop by on their own to ask questions, interview me for projects, and take photos for photography classes. It’s nice to interact with the kids on a different level, not at an investigation level or by reading them their rights.”
Davis adds it’s not always calls or complaints, though, as schools will call and ask her to read to their class, talk about what it’s like to be an RCMP officer, or to show off some of the cars and the gear. She’s trying to remind students they can communicate and talk to each other instead of getting violent or verbally abusive.
“All students want to be safe and respecting each other is something that goes a long way,” adds Davis. “Standing up against bullying and harassment is important. We want to build each other up so when the students do go into the adult world they’re going with positivity and respect for others.”
Every student is different, and some will open up right away and are very receptive to Davis, others can be standoffish. She adds sometimes kids take different paths and it’s important to build trust and positive relationships with them.