Connecting with Students About Investigative Work
A few months ago, Toronto Police Neighbourhood Community Officers (NCOs) Melody Carroll and Glenn Jones helped launch a Community Wellness Space at a public school in 31 Division.
They serve the York University Heights neighbourhood and have established a special relationship with staff and students at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School.
“We hold small group activities in this room,” said Carroll, who as an NCO forges relationships in the community with schools, business and non-profit organizations on a daily basis. “We normally ask students what they want and what can help them to reach their personal goals and become better community members.”
Carroll, a former Iowa State academic advisor, is used to working directly with students, and has tried to cater to their needs.
“They provide us with many suggestions, including resume assistance and other ways to help them find a job. There was, however, a specific request from a few students who wanted to meet with one of our detectives.”
Carroll and Jones reached out to Detective Sanjee Aroda of the Division’s Major Crime Unit.
He jumped at the opportunity and volunteered his time to speak with a group of 14 students.
“They had some great questions, there was some joking around and the interaction was great,” said Aroda, of talking to students to his work as a police investigator both as a potential career and for their own interest as engaged community members. “They were very receptive to what I had to say.”
Carroll thanked Aroda for taking time out of his schedule to meet the students in their space.
“The great thing about this interaction is that it supports the efforts that Glenn and I have personally made to help build trust with the school’s community members,” she added. “Intimate experiences like this between students and police officers provide important opportunities for students to see that police officers are human, approachable and there to help.”