The Delta Police Department has joined forces with students at Delta Secondary in a newly launched youth ambassador program.
Created by school liaison officer Const. Sean Doolan, who describes the program as a step before the popular summer DPD Student Police Academy, four students from DSS started as ambassadors early last month working out of the community police station in Ladner Village.
Doolan has been a school liaison officer for 10 years as well as an instructor with the student academy.
He said he has seen many qualified students just miss out on the academy due to the popularity of the program and sees the ambassador program as a way of either preparing the students, if they are in Grade 11 for the academy, or continuing a potential policing career for a Grade 12 student who has already been through the academy.
“There was never enough room for all the qualified candidates and we didn’t want to lose these kids and still provide an avenue for them, so the idea was that each student could apply for an ambassador position,” he said.
The four ambassadors, all identified through the staff at DSS, volunteer for two hours a day after school, which counts towards their volunteer hours for grad credits. Students also get letters of reference for scholarships and experience that could assist with job searches or university applications.
Students get involved assisting in programs such as Block Watch, home security visits, Business Watch, Citizens Are Security Aware, traffic surveys, ICBC auto crime prevention programs, special events, fairs and school safety programs.
“It’s intended to serve the public and the students, and help expand the reach of the DPD into the student population,” said Doolan. “The intent is that students will take an active role in problem solving activities, assisting the public.”
Students are required to show good judgment, maintain confidentiality, behave and dress appropriately.
“We’ve had graduates from the academy that stay in touch, we write reference letters for them and they get hired at different police departments or law enforcement agencies, so we know it works when we engage and keep the students a part of what we do and part of the Delta police family.”
Doolan said he hopes to expand the program to South Delta Secondary as well as into North Delta.
“We see this as a great opportunity to get students involved all year round in helping their community,” he said.