A new ground-breaking partnership between Lambton College and the Sarnia Police Service (SPS) will see students assisting with low-level crimes in the community, officials announced this week.
The new collaboration will provide opportunities for students enrolled in Lambton’s Criminal Justice programs to work closely with the Sarnia Police Service as part of a newly-established Community Crime Unit.
The unit will be led by a dedicated Constable hired by the SPS to supervise and mentor students as they gain real life exposure to investigations and aspects of crime analysis within the community.
“The students will gain incredible real-life experience investigating, gathering evidence, taking statements and assembling cases for our officers to review and action in the field,” said Sarnia Police Chief Derek Davis. “This will reduce the many burdens on our frontline officers and free-up important resources for emergencies and violent crime response.”
Davis said the partnership aims to build capacity for responding to reported crimes that are less serious in nature, but nonetheless impact members of the community. The new initiative will allow the SPS to enhance responsiveness without taking Police resources away from other issues in the city, he added.
Students selected to work in the new unit will receive first-hand training in supporting victims of crimes and safeguarding the community, while also gaining an understanding of the factors that can contribute to the crimes being committed, a news release noted.
Under the direction of trained professionals, students will also work towards reducing victimization in the community, including the critical piece of connecting community members to outreach supports and services.
“This is a one-of-a-kind partnership designed to strengthen our community and our future workforce all at once,” said Mary Vaughan, Senior Vice President, Lambton College. “The College is incredibly proud to be working with a Sarnia Police Service that is eager for innovation and actively working to create short and long-term solutions that better support everyone in our community.”
Vaughan said all students selected to participate in the Community Crime Unit will be expected to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, including swearing an Oath of Secrecy to protect the confidentiality of community members, and undergoing rigorous training to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of local citizens.
“This partnership is a win-win for both Lambton College and the Sarnia Police Service, and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have on our community,” she added.
During the announcement, the College introduced four second-year students who were selected to participate in the inaugural field experience: Dallas Baker and Jesse Hull from the Police Foundations program, and Liam Chicoine and Maddy Bishop from the Border Services program.
A newly designed police van, representing Lambton College and the Community Crime Unit, was also introduced to the Sarnia Police Services fleet.