For the last three months, the new RCMP school resource officer (SRO) has been settling into her new role while getting to know residents.
Const. Jackie Tessel worked in the Village of Breton before applying to the SRO position in Ponoka that sees policing support for Wolf Creek Public Schools in the Ponoka area. While she is still getting to know students and families, she has enjoyed the move.
“It reminds me a lot of home actually. I grew up in a rural farm setting in Ontario,” explained Tessel.
One of the challenges she faces is getting to know everyone, but she feels that will develop over time. Her goal over the next few years is to be of service to the community. “The reason I joined the RCMP is it’s something new everyday and I get to help people.”
Her goal is to develop a positive relationship with students and to update the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. Being in the school halls has already helped develop an informal relationship with students who have asked her questions on certain laws. “I get questions all the time about tinted windows,” she joked.
One of the benefits of the SRO program is it may break down communication barriers.
When asked about the development of the Police Advisory Committee that town council recently requested, Tessel said that while she does not know how the program will look in Ponoka, she is familiar with how it works having seen one in Breton.
“It was good because you definitely get the community perspective of what the issues are,” she explained.
She suggests students or parents who have questions for her should feel free to ask them. “I find it hard for people to get past the uniform sometimes. But I’m very approachable … I want to help,” explained Tessel.