Rugby coach, law class speaker and guest reader are all in the purview of a school liaison officer. But Central Saanich Police Cpl. Pat Bryant expects he’ll spend some time at local hang outs during the summer too.
“We’ve expanded the role to more of a youth resource position. The job doesn’t end at the end of the school day,” Bryant said. After six years of general patrol with Central Saanich, Bryant is the new school liaison officer and he figures there’s always the opportunity to educate teens about partying safely and respectfully.
“If a kid is dealing with issues at home, maybe we can direct them to the right resources,” he added. “It’s not about standing at a school and watching them cross the road. It’s about being approachable, being visible.”
Just as policing isn’t new to the officer, he’s been at it for 22 years come August, he’s been involved with his family in the local schools for years.
“I’ve been involved in the school system as a parent and as an officer,” Bryant said. He’s headed the traffic safety committee at Keating and spent a couple of years on each planning council at Keating and Bayside.
“We’ve kept our foot in the door of schools,” Bryant said of himself and his wife, fellow Central Saanich officer Cpl. Ondine Easson.
And those boots will tread the halls more times before summer comes. Bryant spends the day cultivating communication at all five schools in the district.
“It’s not an easy job, because you have to be able to communicate with the Kindergarten kids, sitting on the floor reading a story … and then spend the afternoon at Stelly’s,” he said.
An average day will see him monitoring morning speeds outside of Keating elementary, then spending some time at the SD63 Individual Learning Centre, followed by a visit to Stelly’s secondary just in time to “hang out” at lunch. As the more senior students head back to class, he just has time to hit Bayside middle school in time for their afternoon break. Then there’s time for a post-school check on the drivers at Brentwood elementary. Switching things up now and again, he spends time at all the schools.
“I’m just trying to be approachable, not only for the youth but for staff,” Bryant said.
The approachable approach appears to work. Already he’s been recruited to coach the Grade 6 and 7 rugby team at Bayside and to speak to a law class at Stelly’s.