Pubdate: Fri, 17 Feb 2006
Source: Arthur Enterprise News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Arthur Enterprise News
Author: Kris Svela
Bookmark: (Drug Education)
Bookmark: (Youth)


A Program To Place OPP Officers In Wellington County High Schools Is 
Paying Off.

Inspector Steve Walsh told the Wellington County Police Services 
Board at its meeting on February 8 in Mount Forest that the program 
has proven "successful" in combatting drug and alcohol abuse among 
students on school property.

Officers reacted to 49 incidents in the current school year, most 
relating to marijuana use, Inspector Walsh said.

The program was initiated shortly after OPP took over policing duties 
in Wellington County.

"One of our high schools had a problem with cannabis use at lunch 
time," the inspector told board members. "I put an officer in that 
high school and on the first day she took a walk around the school 
and found a 17-year-old inebriated."

Similar incidents occurred with drugs and others involving alcohol 
which prompted the OPP to place full-time officers in all the high 
schools in the county.

New criminal youth laws now allow officers to deal with incidents 
without offenders having to go to court. The problems are dealt with 
through consultation with parents and school officials, the inspector said.

Board Chairman David Adsett said the program gives officers a 
first-hand opportunity to know the students and deal with abuse 
issues they might have.

"It's not so much a case of enforcement, it's getting in with the 
kids," he said.

That one-on-one philosophy continues when the officers are returned 
to the community during the summer holidays.

"They know the kids," Inspector Walsh added.

Officers also provide in-class information sessions on topics such as 
drug and alcohol abuse.
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