By Katrina Thomson, Vice-Principal, Killarney Secondary
For the past 47 years, the Vancouver Police Department's (VPD) School Liaison Unit has supported the Vancouver School District's common goals of education and safety. Today, fifteen constables and one sergeant work daily in VSB schools.
School Liaison Officers have a wide range of responsibilities in District schools. They deliver safety and crime prevention lessons to students, staff and parents, they act as a legal resource to students, administrators and staff, and they often counsel and talk informally with students when they have questions about the justice system. They work in schools to enhance the safety and security of the school, doing everything from coaching teams, joining clubs and escorting field trips, to investigating criminal offences relating to the school and its population.
The first school to host a School Liaison Officer or SLO, was Killarney Secondary, back in 1972. Today, Constable Colin Gilmore is a regular, friendly presence in the hallways of the school, connecting with students, staff, parents and the local community. A veteran of the VPD for more than 27 years, Constable Gilmore was raised in the Killarney neighborhood and has very well-developed connections in the community. Constable Gilmore's responsibilities also reach out to the elementary schools in the Killarney family of schools.
Constable Gilmore loves his job, which involves interacting with Killarney Secondary students every day. This ranges from a friendly, informal chat in the hallway to teaching students about dangers in our community, such as gangs. Constable Gilmore helps promote the police as an accessible community service and breaks down the barriers between youth and police. Sometimes, he helps with the investigation of offences and enforcement of laws, but mostly, his role is to help prevent crime and enhance the Killarney community's safety through education.
Constable Gilmore says, "It has truly been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career, to get to interact with young people every day. I think it really breaks down barriers and encourages them to know that I am one of the people who will be there for support if they need it."
The School Liaison Program is a valuable partnership with the VPD that helps make our school communities safer.