Friday, August 22, 2014

OPP summer students on patrol

Given the recent crime wave in Fort Frances, the three summer students working with the local OPP detachment are getting a real taste of law enforcement work.
With more than two dozen incidents involving vandalism to vehicles and thefts having been reported to police over the last few weeks, Grade 11 students Sydney Johnson and Mathew Nowak, along with Grade 10 student Deidrick Smith, are on high alert as they patrol the community on bicycles.

“They are out looking for discarded items or anything that is out of place,” noted Fort
Frances OPP Cst. Anne McCoy, adding they also can talk to people to see if anyone has noticed anything suspicious.
The trio also are helping to deliver the “Lock It or Lose It” anti-theft program.
“We go around and look at vehicles to see if they are locked and that the windows are shut,” explained Smith.
“I think it’s been helpful for people,” said Nowak.
“It’s something that is needed, especially now, so people can learn if their vehicles are insecure,” he reasoned.
The “Lock It or Lose It” campaign is meant to raise awareness of crime prevention while informing the public on how to crime-proof their property.
For instance, they want to remind people that vehicles with valuables left inside may be tempting to thieves.
“If a vehicle is secure, we put a congratulations sticker on it,” Smith noted.
If it’s not secure, he said they’ll make note of what’s wrong—leaving a message to the owner that they’re taking their chances with the security of their vehicle.
In addition to bike patrol and the “Lock It or Lose It” campaign, the three students have been busy with plenty of other tasks.
“We’ve volunteered at Rainycrest and the soup kitchen,” said Johnson, noting they are getting out in the community and trying to be a positive role model.
As such, they’ll be organizing a bike rodeo later this summer in an effort to teach children about riding safely and the importance of wearing helmets.
They’ve also had a chance to work closely with the local officers, visit court, and complete office work.
“Really, we get to do a little bit of everything,” Johnson noted.
Although they are just a couple of weeks into their eight-week position, the trio already know it is going to be a really great experience.
“It’s a good starter job if you’re thinking of the OPP as a future career,” said Smith, adding it’s a profession he’s certainly considering.
Johnson noted she also wants to go into law enforcement while Nowak indicated he eventually wants to work with the police force after he finishes with the military.
“It’s a good place to start,” he agreed, noting he’s been a member of the local air cadets and currently is applying for the artillery reserve.
“It’s a good place to work, a good working environment,” Nowak added.
“It’s really interesting—not your typical summer job,” echoed Smith.
“We’ve already learned so much,” Johnson enthused. “I’m really enjoying it.”
Although not able to return as an OPP summer student in following years, it certainly is a position the three would recommend to their classmates because they feel they are contributing and making a difference in the community.

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