School Resource Officers are community-based police officers with special training who help foster a safe and caring learning environment by prioritizing prevention and intervention over enforcement. Edmonton Catholic Schools currently has 13 SROs serving junior and senior high school students in 17 schools.
The SRO program is a community-based, collaborative partnership between the Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton Catholic Schools.
Who is my School Resource Officer?
Constable Candace Werestiuk
Const. Candace Werestiuk is a School Resource Officer (SRO) at St. Cecilia Junior High School. A 16-year member of the Edmonton Police Service, Const. Werestiuk is in her 4th year with the SRO Unit. Const. Werestiuk enjoys working collaboratively with school staff to support and honour students and their families. You will often find Const. Werestiuk walking the hallways, greeting both students and staff, and engaging with them in conversation. Const. Werestiuk is a trusted member of the school community that the staff and students often turn to for support. She enjoys being a part of student-led initiatives and school activities, where she is able to engage with the students and build strong positive rapport.
The primary responsibility of the School Resource Officer is to work in collaboration with school administration, the school’s multi-disciplinary team, and families to support student safety, growth, and well-being.
ECSD schools benefit from multi-disciplinary teams of which our SROs play an important part. SROs work with a variety of team members that exist within our schools including:
Student Services Staff
Emotional Behavior Specialists
Family School Liaison Workers
Psychologists/Clinical Social Workers
Mental Health Therapists
School Resource Officers contribute to the safety and well-being of students in multiple ways:
Positive Youth Engagement: School Resource Officers play an important role within the school setting, including organizing and participating in student-led or school activities, providing counselling, mediation and mentoring, and helping to connect students to school and community resources. School Resource Officers are available throughout the day, between classes, during lunch, and before-and-after school, connecting with students beyond the classroom.
School Safety: SROs work to ensure the safety of students and staff, daily, from planning and executing lockdown drills throughout the school year, to making themselves available for individual or group discussions with students or staff on the topics of school safety, security, and violence. While they are in constant communication with school administrations and staff, they are also the first line of crime prevention in school, helping to deter crime-related incidents, such as bullying, graffiti and vandalism, harassment or stalking, theft, or use of weapons or threats. School safety is not just a response to crisis situations. It is the daily impact of having caring adults who are responsive to a broad range of student and family concerns and how they can support them.
Resource: SROs offer additional resources to students and families. They can answer questions about law enforcement or assist them to get the resources that they need.
Education: Working cooperatively with school administrators, staff, students, families, and the community, SROs proactively identify and address school concerns or problems through structured class presentations. These awareness and education sessions are created on a variety of topics (e.g. drug use, healthy relationships and safe driving) and are all tailored to fit the student population based on direct experience of the SRO within the school setting.
Diversion: With their knowledge of the criminal justice system, SROs collaborate with school administration to come up with alternative diversion measures for situations that otherwise may have involved the criminal justice system. This could be anything from completing restorative work around the school, working out with the resource officer, or assisting teachers with extra-curricular activities.