Drayton Valley Community School Resource Officer Blair Gillman
“Welcome to Drayton Valley.”
I have heard this nearly everywhere I’ve been, from the grocery store to the barber shop. In our short time here, my family has experienced warmth and welcome from the community and is incredibly grateful for the wonderful people and outpouring of support during our time of transition.
My name is Constable Blair Gillman and I have been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the past 13 years, Drayton Valley being my 5th posting. I have worked all across this great province, from the Far North community of Rainbow Lake/ Assumption to the Deep South towns of Raymond/ Magrath.
The role of community and school resource officer is new to me, having spent my time primarily in general duty policing and traffic enforcement. Currently there are six schools I am responsible for: Eldorado, Aurora, Drayton Christian, HW Pickup, Drayton Valley Outreach, and Frank Maddock High School. Each school presents different challenges and unique opportunities.
On any given day I can go from playing dodge-ball, to dealing with a student in crisis, to various community meetings, or traffic enforcement in school zones. I can honestly say I’ve never been busier! I work closely with local school and Wild Rose School Division administration and have a whole new respect for the terrific job they do educating the students of this community.
My main goal is to interact with the community and the schools in a way that maximizes the benefit my position has to offer. All the schools were provided a service request form they can submit for my attendance or assistance in classrooms or events.
One of the more memorable opportunities I had was when, while in full uniform, I joined the students at HW Pickup to run a 5k Terry Fox Run. I have also re-implemented the Mini Mountie program in both elementary schools where each month students can choose to color or draw a picture to bring awareness to that month’s theme.
I am also a big supporter of High School Athletics. It has a number of benefits including good physical health, teamwork, leadership, and social skills. Unfortunately it can be quite costly to play one or more sports and I believe that every student should have the opportunity to play, regardless of their family’s financial situation. In partnership with the Drayton Valley Victim Services, I am helping to organize a curling bonspiel to be held in February to raise money for the Frank Maddock High School athletic department.
So far, in the two months I have been here, I have had the opportunity to attend a number of community events and the town motto of “Pulling Together” can be felt. Going forward, I would like to continue being in the schools as much as possible. Interacting with students in a positive manner sets the stage for respect for the police, the law and their communities later in life.
I hope to continue the DARE program to educate about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. I will continue to utilize training opportunities, both through the RCMP and the Wild Rose School Division, to better my knowledge and skills. This will allow me to better utilize my time to benefit the our community.
Social media is a large part of everyone’s lives, especially teens. I am hoping to bring in training opportunities for parents, students and staff to keep up with the ever changing technology in the hopes of keeping the school safe.
In closing, I just want to thank all the wonderful people I come in contact with on a day to day basis. The positive attitudes and support make it easy call this town home.