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PCs would fund more police officers for schools

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A Progressive Conservative government would fund the expansion of the popular school resource officer program to more schools in Manitoba, party leader Hugh McFadyen said Tuesday.

McFadyen also said if he's premier after the Oct. 4 election he'd create a Teachers Advisory Committee to tell government what changes need to happen in the province's classrooms.

McFadyen said he would add eight more officers to the school resource officer (SRO) program: eight city police officers currently work in the Winnipeg School Division, two in the Pembina Trails School Division and two in Brandon.

He said a PC government would also assume full funding for the program to ease the burden of costs on police and school divisions.

"I say we take leadership, end the patchwork, and make this program available to all schools in Winnipeg," McFadyen said. "Education dollars should not have to go to police salaries."

The SRO program was launched in 2002 and saw three city police officers stationed in schools in the city's North End.

It was expanded in 2008 to more schools in south Winnipeg under an agreement with the province to co-fund it.

The SRO program, based on one in Alberta that's been operating since the mid-70s, sees uniformed officers stationed in schools where they interact with elementary to high school students.

Besides bringing police closer to young people to provide positive role models, officers also pick up information that helps them solve and prevent crimes.

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