All eyes were on them as they walked into Rexdale High School. They landed in unfamiliar territory and were desperately trying to mask their feelings of trepidation. The Iron Joan Mentors from Sheridan’s Police Foundations program were swiftly guided to the gymnasium by the high school liaison who remarked: “It’s great you’re here. We need young, strong, positive, female role models.” And so the day began.
The goal of the Iron Joan Mentor Program is to have Sheridan’s Police Foundations’ students mentor at-risk females in the community through academics, recreation and camaraderie.
“Community policing is a critical component of police delivery in our society, whereby the police and the community work in partnership to create safer communities” – Professor Tanya Philp
Earlier this October at Rexdale High School this experience entailed teaching students basic self-defense tactics, including the proper techniques and execution. The high school liaison and I observed the lesson from a distance. It was the Iron Joan Mentors’ time to lead, apply, experience and create. The mentors took on this opportunity and delivered a spot-on demonstration to the students. They had rehearsed the lesson and set an agenda but quickly learned that real-world application often means being ready to adapt and to get creative on the spot.
By using their foundation of knowledge, their abilities to demonstrate learned competencies, and their abilities to establish the necessary rapport with students through communication, fun and creativity, the Iron Joan Mentors accomplished their mission and were invited back to the school.
The work that the mentors did with the Rexdale High School students is just one example of how the mentors embrace, apply and demonstrate their knowledge of community policing and leadership. Community policing is a critical component of police delivery in our society, whereby the police and the community work in partnership to create safer communities.
Today, the practice of community policing assesses specific needs associated with a community. The goals are to suppress crime, mobilize the community, integrate crime prevention, provide consultation, maintain community safety and, ultimately, achieve a level of community engagement to the degree where police serve as liaisons.
“The combination of experience and skill will undoubtedly ground them for future success in the police service” – Professor Tanya Philp
The Police Foundations’ Iron Joan Mentors are undeniably achieving real-world experience while understanding the need to be creative. The combination of experience and skill will undoubtedly ground them for future success in the police service.
Pictured at top of page: High school students with their Iron Joan Mentors from Sheridan
Written by: Tanya Philp, Professor of Police Foundations at Sheridan.