The Ontario Safe Schools Education Officers' Community Committee (OSSEOC) is a committee formed in 2005 to address the need for a network of officers who deliver safety and educational programs to schools in Ontario.
The Halton Regional Police Service have had representation on the committee since its inception. Most GTA services are represented on the committee, as are the O.P.P. and RCMP. The crests on the letterhead reflect the membership. Several officers on the committee travel significant distances to attend the meetings. The committee is very useful to all services, and, in particular, the smaller ones with fewer resources.
Any officer can attend the meetings, which are held at the York Regional Police 2 District Community Room, every other month.
Officers are kept current on best practices and consistent messaging. There are several civilian members of the committee who have expertise in child psychology and education. They can point out problems and strengths that police officers may not have the training or background to recognize.
The committee also forms sub-committees to work on lesson plans, of which there are currently five. The lesson plans will be posted on the Ontario Chiefs of Police website to download in order to be available to any officer. Attendees bring any movies, literature, programs, etc. to be shared and reviewed. A child psychologist who attends is able to give insight into the programs. They are also able to tell police about mixed messages, and point out other program shortcomings. The committee discusses best practices as well as current trends and outdated programs.
The upcoming launch is to showcase a series of lesson plans that the committee has written. These include Police Officers Around Town (JK to Grade 1), Elmer the Safety Elephant (JK to Grade 1), Personal Safety (Grades 1-3), Internet Safety (Grades 3 and 4), Relationship Matters - Bullying (Grades 5-7), and Substance Use/Misuse (Grade 6). The committee is working on others.
Not all of the lesson plans will be used by all services, depending on the programs already in place, but certainly the smaller services benefit from the larger services' experience. Cst. Laurel Barnett is the Halton Regional Police Service representative. Cst. Barnett is in the process of compiling binders with copies of the aforementioned lesson plans for each of the Education Services officers.