On November 1, 2017, three senior YMCA Academy students visited the OPP- Queen’s Park Division to learn about all the employment opportunities within the department. We heard the personal stories of several officers about how their interests and training led them to their current jobs. Some started as volunteers, others in the public sector, but all had one thing in common, they all agreed that having the skill and the love of communicating with the public was the most important skill to have.
We learned about the history and the current responsibilities of the OPP. Did you know that the first motorized vehicles that the OPP used was the motorcycle? Did you know that the first female officer joined the forces in 1974? Neither did we, but we also did not know what different roles the OPP played in rural versus urban regions in Ontario, but we do now. We also now know that sign language is a skill that is being encouraged in the OPP. There are more people now with hearing related difficulties and as I said earlier, communication is a key skill in this job.
Fortunately we were able to witness several demonstrations. We had a canine demonstration by Constable Hick and his partner “Cash” who is an Italian Sheppard named after Johnny Cash. Other demonstrations included a Conducted Electrical Weapons (taser) and an O.C. Spray (Pepper Spray). Safety was the primary focus with stress placed on understanding that there are clear guidelines about what situations warrant considering their use.
Since then, the OPP officers have reached out to our YMCA community several times. They have hung out with us during lunchtimes, become members of our Dungeon & Dragon club and have been seen shooting hoops with our students in the basketball club. This Thursday, they will be joining us in several discussion including internet safety, situation safety and nutrition & physical fitness. In the coming months they will be our guests in:
- Careers class to discuss career options
- Physical Education classes to show the students what the physical training is like for their job
- History class to discuss tactics of different societies and time periods (an expectation of the course)
I am very happy with the ongoing relationship we are developing with the OPP. And I look forward to expanding their presence in our school as they are truly interested in the youth of this community.