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Letter: Liaison program keeps gangs away from Burnaby schools

Editor: Re: Burnaby RCMP back-to-school video pulled amid online backlash , NOW news I have to start off by saying that I have not had the opportunity to see the “offending” video.
RCMP in Surrey B.C., are looking for a suspect after one of their vehicles was stolen during a traffic stop late Friday night.


Re: Burnaby RCMP back-to-school video pulled amid online backlash, NOW news

I have to start off by saying that I have not had the opportunity to see the “offending” video.

I am a retired member of the RCMP, and during my service I worked in Burnaby for 12 years. During that time, we started a “school liaison” program in which some of our members made a considerable effort to connect with these kids for a number of reasons.

First of all, there was a growing gang threat in our schools which spawned violence. There were overt acts of intimidation and threats. There were assaults, and drug trafficking was done brazenly in the open.

Our school liaison members dealt decisively with that threat, and they were welcomed by the school community. 

It was also becoming apparent that we needed to take proactive steps in preparing for “active shooter” scenarios.

What I’m attempting to convey here is that things aren’t always perfect in this world, but many of us are trying to keep you, and your kids, safe from harm.

When I read this article, and the outrage being exacted on this member in his attempt to bring some calm in a world that has been turned upside down over the past few months, I just found that it must be disheartening for all involved. 

I suppose some of these outraged people would like to see the school liaison program cancelled. Rest assured, once the liaison officers leave, certain elements will fill that void, and the vicious cycle of gang recruiting, drug trafficking and intimidation on school grounds will infest the area once again.

We used to have a ride-along program in which the public could go on a patrol with uniformed members, and I can tell you from experience that each and every one of them came out of that experience with a new found respect for the ugly job that our members have to do day in, and day out.

I know from personal experience that the kids really relate to these liaison officers. For some, the officers are a positive role model that they just don’t get at home. 

During this uncertain time, these kids need to see some stability in their school environment. Many are returning to virtually empty classrooms, and many fear that their environment could be a source of contamination. 

So a smiling face from a teacher, and a reassuring welcome by a liaison officer can have an incalculable positive effect on their sense of well-being.

Keep up the good work Const. Tarape. Many of us out here appreciate your efforts.

William Jost, Maple Ridge