Re: No to fortress schools (Editorials, Dec. 29). The day of the Newtown school tragedy, I was in Calgary with members of the Calgary Police Service reviewing their special resource officer (SRO) program.
For 35 years, Calgary has had SROs in schools to help teens with such problems as peer pressure, drugs, bullying, youth gangs and property crimes.
Winnipeg currently employs nine officers who cover some 50 schools in the North End and core areas. Another one or two officers (one in first year and two thereafter) are dedicated to some 33 or so schools in the southern areas of the city.
The benefits of the SRO program are quantifiable, including helping to increase stay-in-school rates; improving response times in finding missing kids; having earlier information on gang activity, fights and bullying issues; and improving procedures in emergency response situations.
To ensure safety for our students and teachers, this program should be expanded to be a permanent, city-wide initiative. Every student and every teacher has a right to be safe.
COUN. PAULA HAVIXBECK