PCHS’ Police Academy
by Helena Tsitouras
In collaboration with Pierrefonds Community High School, the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) launched a pilot project called The Police Work Program. As part of the initiative, Grade 10 students were given an opportunity to participate in after school workshops to learn about what it takes to become a police officer.
The goal of the project is to prepare interested students to create general awareness of the profession.
“The project exposes high school students to various facets of what it means to be a police officer. Students learn about the physical aspects, as well as the theoretical and psychological aspects through weekly workshops,” explained PCHS guidance counselor, Rachelle Doucet. From the looks of the quantity of applications, students were extremely enthusiastic about the program.
The Police Work Project was launched by Sergeant Frank Lombardo as a part of an initiative to diversify the police force. He was accompanied by PCHS’ community relations officer Khobee Gibson.Throughout the project, students are exposed to different issues, including police intervention and crime scene investigation, giving a taste for what a day in the life of a police officer is really like.
For many students like Tylia Simpson, the project gave her the opportunity to explore potential career options. “This will help me gain experience that I can hopefully put on my resume and impress potential employers,” said Simpson. For her, it wasn’t only a fun learning opportunity, but also a unique experience to touch on forensics, the field she hopes to one day work in.
For others, it was an opportunity to learn more about an officer’s role in the community. This was something that was important to student Serenity Kly. “My hope is that I will gain more understanding about the police profession in general,” she explained. “What better way to learn than to be up close and personal.”
The program also allows the SPVM to play an active and positive role inside the school. “Because of this project, we now have police officers inside the walls of the school on a weekly basis, not because someone is in trouble, but because they are educating students. I think it demonstrates that police officers are not only law enforcers, but that they can also be educators,” said Doucet.
PCHS students appreciated learning from Sergeant Lombardo’s team and being a part of a unique police academy. On their end, the SPVM also enjoyed teaching students and sharing their experience with participants — A win-win partnership for all!