Police AssociAtion of novA scotiA 21 Cyber Cop educates youth on internet dangers TRURO - There’s a new cop on the school beat in Truro and he’s targeting cyber crime. Truro Police Service introduced its newest crime-fighting member “Cyber”, a robotic-like mascot, in a show of flashing lights and electrified music at Truro Elementary School. "This is an initiative Truro Police Service did all on its own as part of our commitment to community safety," said Const. Jon Keddy, the department’s school resource officer. The officer has identified areas of concern in schools directly related to the cyber community but was concerned there were no educational programs available to teach students about potential dangers lurking on the Internet. "The Internet and the whole cyber world is an asset but you have to treat it with respect," said Keddy. He describes cyber space as an unsupervised playground for kids and feels education is key to protecting children from online predators. The officer, with the help of two students who worked with the department last summer, developed a curriculum to educate children about Internet safety, etiquette and protocol, including text messaging, social networking and the overall dangers of Internet crime and bullying. As part of the program’s development, Keddy approached police Chief Dave MacNeil, with an idea to create Cyber, the department’s new Internet Cop Mascot. "We’re really proud of the program," said the chief. "Just seeing the kids’ faces today. It was money well spent. It’s definitely a made in Truro solution for a problem that was identified in our community." He said funding for the new initiative came from the department’s community policing operational budget but declined to give an exact cost. Cyber wears a shiny white and blue police suit complete with red and blue flashing lights and stands about six and a half feet tall. A company affiliated with Universal Studios in Florida manufactured the robotic cop. His slogan is Programmed For Safety and he uses interactive messaging that is known as Cyber’s Rules to deliver powerful anti-bullying and safety messages to children. Children will also be able to collect Cyber’s rules on animated collectible cards, and computer mouse pads. The rules will be delivered to students using a high quality digitally animated Power Point presentation, created by program partner Nova Scotia Community College Motion Animation Department, Truro campus. Cyber will be directly involved with Truro’s three major schools, reaching more than 2,800 children. "Cyber crime is growing worldwide and through education and awareness we hope to reduce the impact of cyber crime on our community and possibly further if this mascot trend continues abroad," said Keddy. Children will also be able to collect Cyber’s rules on animated collectible cards, and computer mouse pads. Originally published December, 2009 - Sherry Martell, Blueline Magazine For further information contact David MacNeil, Chief of Police, Truro Police Service 902-897-3274