Recent police hires work with youth

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
CRO Elride Edwards, Senior Aplo Sophie Edwards, CRO Jerry Maher, CRO Tracy Pickett.
Camera IconCRO Elride Edwards, Senior Aplo Sophie Edwards, CRO Jerry Maher, CRO Tracy Pickett. Credit: Sophia Constantine.

The recent employment of three community relations officers at South Hedland Police Station has provided more scope for local police to interact with youth in the community.

CROs Elride Edwards, Jerry Maher, and Tracy Pickett work alongside senior Aboriginal police liaison officer Sophie Edwards and have become involved in proactive initiatives throughout the community that help break down barriers, particularly between police and young Aboriginal children.

Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon the team runs a boxing class which has been well attended by young girls and boys.

South Hedland Senior Sergeant Dean Snashall said last year’s statistics of unsupervised children wandering the streets at night were staggering, with one of the common themes being boredom.

“The role of the CRO is simply to engage and interact with Aboriginal people and provide a conduit between police and the community,” he said, explaining the CROs had been helping Hedland Senior High School help at-risk and challenging children engage in the education system.

“Our CROs attend each morning to put the kids through their paces, conducting physical training sessions which helps gets them stimulated and ready for a few hours in the classroom.

“We are already finding that normally disengaged kids are turning up to school at 9am to participate in the program.

“Quite often on-duty police attend and get involved with the kids to interact with them in a less invasive environment.

“This is beneficial to both the kids and police officers because each party gets to see a completely different side of one another, helping to reduce those barriers.”

Sen. Sgt Snashall said it was a step in the right direction for the South Hedland Police Station.

“I think we now have a model that finds the right balance between enforcement and community engagement which, over time, will hopefully see increased community/police relations and a decrease in juvenile crime,” he said.

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