Being closely engaged with youth is definitely an advantage for Cst. Ryan Koehli of the RCMP Ponoka detachment in his new position as the Resource Officer for Ponoka Schools.
“They used to have that position a few years ago,” said Koehli in an interview, “The school division, the county, the town and the detachment have been talking about (reviving) it for some time” he explained as how he got to be assigned to his new responsibility.
As the resource officer, “mostly working out of the schools as opposed to the detachment,” Koehli will focus on a number of issues that may arise in all schools within the Ponoka community, in cooperation with social workers, school administrations, and most importantly, in dialogue with students.
With a resident office at Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC), Koehli will be also engaged in addressing at various issues in other schools, but “a large component of the task is there” he said in reference to PSC.
Koehli is already well known among youth for his involvement with the minor hockey community in Ponoka, where he coaches the Midget A team Ponoka Wolves.
“We (the RCMP) are only one piece of the big formation there alongside school administrators, teachers, social workers, counselors, working cooperatively for the good of the students.
“But the biggest portion of the job is getting to know the students, basically more closer engagement between the RCMP and students.”
But with some 1,500 students attending all schools, Koehli admits that it is a challenging assignment.
He says his tasks will also include the implementation of the anti-drug DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance and Education) program with Grade 6 students in the course of the school year.
Having been tasked to his new responsibility only six weeks ago, Koehli believes he will have a lot more to say as the academic year progresses and he becomes more familiarized with the challenges he has to manage.