Members of the Saanich Crime Prevention Team stand with volunteer co-ordinator Ian Gibbs and Saanich Police Sgt. Sherry Walsh of the Community Engagement Division. Photo submitted

Work with Saanich Police offers students clues about themselves

Six post-secondary students spend summer working with Crime Prevention Team

Saanich Police provided a first-hand look into a career in law enforcement for a half-dozen post-secondary students.

Six post-secondary students were kept busy this summer working on crime prevention and public safety issues with the Saanich Police Community Engagement Division.

“This program is so valuable to us. It gives us experience that we’d never get anywhere else, but it’s also really valuable to the community,” said team lead Amy Acheson, who is working towards a bachelor degree in sport and fitness leadership at Camosun College.

Her stint with the Crime Prevention Team this summer, as well as time spent earlier this year with the police reserve program, has convinced Acheson to focus on a career in law enforcement.

“You think you’re going to come in here and work on some work skills and you come in and really learn some things about yourself and who you are,” said Acheson, who credits Sgt. Sherry Walsh with taking her under her wing and providing mentorship.

The Crime Prevention Team was made up of both students looking at a career in law enforcement as well as those following a different career path.

Emily Jackson is studying for a bachelor of arts in psychology at the University of Victoria.

“I would like to work in a career where I get to help the community and work with people,” said Jackson, who is focusing her studies on early childhood developmental psychology. “I’m interested in law enforcement, maybe not specifically as an officer but maybe in restorative justice or family and child protective service.”

The team worked on numerous crime prevention initiatives – things such as fraud awareness seminars, parking lot audits, cellphone watch campaigns and boating safety issues – as well as attending numerous events such as Music in the Park and Canada Day at the Gorge.

For Jackson, her favourite experience was meeting with members of the 55-plus social club at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre.

“The people there are awesome and were so welcoming,” said Jackson, who got a lesson in carpet bowling from the members. “It was great to learn something new with people who have so many stories and so much life experience. It’s a different type of interaction than with your own peer group.”

Acheson praised the interaction with the officers, saying the open-door policy shown by everyone from regular duty constables right up to the chief has convinced her to continue on her path towards a career in law enforcement.

The time spent with the Crime Prevention Team has taught Jackson a lot about herself.

“I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my abilities and ideas, and I think that’s a valuable skill going forward,” she said. “I think the best part is how much I’ve grown into myself.”

editor@saanichnews.com

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