Two Delta youth leap for a trapeze at Trinity Western University’s high ropes course as part the Delta Police Department’s Student Police Academy. (Delta Police Department/Twitter photo)

Delta youth soar at Student Police Academy

DPD Chief Neil Dubord says the future’s in good hands with hard working Delta youth

There is no other way to say it: our future is in good hands with the incredible talent of our youth in Delta.

Every year in the early summer, Delta Police runs its Student Police Academy. And every year, the calibre of student amazes me. For two weeks these kids participate in a variety of activities that are intended to challenge them, push them to their limits, teach them about working on teams and, if we’re lucky, light a spark in them that makes them want to become a Delta Police officer.

They run the police officer physical abilities test, do classroom work on legal studies, drive fast, learn use-of-force techniques, quarry with police dogs and do many team building exercises that push them outside of their comfort zones.

A relatively new portion of the academy is the high ropes course at Trinity Western University. The students climb up a 40-foot ladder and stand on a tiny platform from which they take a leap in an attempt to catch a trapeze bar. (Don’t worry, they have a safety harness.)

One of the students got up to the platform and froze on the teetering platform — heights can do that. She eventually jumped, not because she dug deep into her soul and mustered the courage, but because she saw a spider. That’s right, her fear of falling 40 feet to the ground was eclipsed by the eight-legged guest visiting her on the platform. Whatever works!

During the two weeks, I got regular check-ins from our school liaison officers who run the academy to see how the students were holding up. One morning Const. Sean Doolan, our Ladner SLO, told me about a few students who needed to register for their fall semester at SFU. In between their activities, the SLOs set up a laptop and a hotspot at Starbucks so the students could get online and choose their courses.

These kids are living life — they work hard, they play hard and they take every opportunity offered to them.

There is a different kind of energy in the DPD when the Student Police Academy is happening. I’m not sure if it’s the students or instructors that are more exhausted at the end of the two weeks. There are very few events that have this strong an impact on the relationship between Delta Police and our community’s youth; we do outreach all year long in a variety of ways, but the two-week commitment by our members and the students who sign up creates incredible opportunities for growth — for not only the students, but our members as well.

Neil Dubord is the Delta Police Department’s chief constable. He joined the DPD on June 29, 2015 after three years as chief of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police and 25 years with the Edmonton Police Service where he was the Deputy Chief in charge of Community Policing Bureau.