The city’s new School Resource Officer is getting top marks from the community as she builds relationships with Beaumont’s teachers and students.
Community Peace Officer Christine Hepburn was hired in August as Beaumont’s first uniformed School Resource Officer. In her first few months on the job, Hepburn has been creating partnerships with community groups and working with the Black Gold and STAR Catholic school divisions to provide in class education.
“We’re really happy to have Christine working alongside us,” said Chris Peacocke, principal at Beaumont Composite High School. “The students and teachers appreciate her visits to the school and she is helping us make sure our classrooms continue to be safe and caring places.”
“Christine has a wealth of knowledge and experience that we respect and appreciate,” said Jordan Robinson, principal at École Mother d’Youville School. “We’re really seeing the value of the city’s school resource officer program and how it benefits teachers, students and families.”
Council created the full-time position to provide an additional resource for schools, families and children. The School Resource Officer provides a visible presence in schools and the community, mentors children and youth, and delivers classroom presentations on topics including online safety, drug awareness, bullying and other issues that affect the community.
“Our council wants to make sure Beaumont remains one of the safest communities in Alberta,” said Mayor John Stewart. “We created this position to provide positive leadership for children and youth and to help our schools and families navigate some of the social issues that affect communities.”
Hepburn brings 11 years’ experience with the RCMP to the role, including extensive work in youth and community outreach. Most recently, she was stationed in Wetaskiwin where she helped establish HUB, an interagency group that brought together schools, mental health professionals, law enforcement and other resources to support children, youth and families in crisis.
The position is a sworn peace officer with the authority to enforce municipal bylaws and some provincial statutes. However, Hepburn’s priorities are education, awareness and dialogue.
“My goal is to support the success of children and youth and you get a lot further with them by building a trusting relationship – talking with them, listening and treating them with respect,” she said. “The most rewarding parts of my career have been helping young people through difficult times and seeing them reach their potential. I look forward to getting to know the community better and helping keep Beaumont a great place to live and raise a family.”