POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 11 Tim Keizer making his presence felt at Colonel Gray High School Back from a lunchtime cruise in mom’s red Tercel, the teens pull into the Colonel Gray parking lot, tunes blaring, heads bopping. Two in the front, two in the back. Two in the back. That’s two too many, according to the graduated licence sticker on the front windshield. It’s also a $220 fine and three demerit points, said the cop writing up the ticket. Well, that sucks. Const. Tim Keizer begins his second week patrolling the grounds at Colonel Gray High School today. Principal Kevin Whitrow had lobbied the police department for three years for an in-house cop primarily to help deal with an ongoing drug problem, but also to address cyberbullying and traffic issues. “My role is to provide a safe environment”, Keizer said. “And to educate.” He’s not there to take the students’ money. That’s why he has let all eight traffic violators he’s written up so far off with just a warning, providing they - and their moms - attend an education session he will put on at the school. He’s also not there to be a truant officer. If he sees a kid skipping school, he might ask what’s up, but he won’t pull out the handcuffs and escort him back to class. That’s why Devin Johnson, a Grade 11 student who admits he is not always an angel, thinks Keizer is the perfect choice for the school cop. Keizer grew up in Charlottetown and graduated from Charlottetown Rural High School in 1988. Johnson and other students I spoke with say Keizer is bridging the gap between the police and youths. “He’s not old so he knows how to act,” Johnson said. “He’s not trying to get people in trouble, so he’s trusted and respected for that. He gets out of the way for small stuff.” Like any other school, there are more serious issues at Colonel Gray than traffic. And that’s where Keizer will “get in the way”. Normally, Johnson said, there would have been at least one good fistfight by now - usually involving someone who owes money or someone who might have “cocked off” to another guy’s girlfriend. But after Week 1, there has been only one minor shoving match, and when one of the boys threatened to “get the cop”, the other “ran like a scolded dog”, said Keizer, who saw the whole thing go down. Drugs are still prevalent at the school, Johnson said. Walk into the bathroom at any given time and you could see a deal going down, or see someone snorting crushed-up hydromorphone through a rolledup twenty or tampon applicator. “At least you don’t see it as much as last year,” Johnson said. Keizer has an office in the school and makes rounds between classes and during breaks. He’s aware of the drug problem, and has already warned the usual suspects that he’s watching. He is also learning to understand mental health issues. Johnson said Colonel Gray is rife with stereotypical cliques - he lists the jocks, the preps, the nerds, the smokers, the stoners, the junkies, the foreigners and the “unpopulars” who are looking for a sense of belonging. Keizer wants to reach out to the vulnerable kids before they wind up in the wrong group, or become bullied or involved with drugs. He has already used his authority to take one student, who had contemplated suicide, to see a doctor. Keizer will be at Colonel Gray until the end of November. After that, he would welcome the opportunity to move to another school if there is a need, or extend his stay at Colonel Gray. “I’m only here for a short time,” Keizer said. “But I hope the impact I have lasts a lot longer.” Const. Tim Keizer will be stationed at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown until at least November. He will focus on drugs, bullying and traffic issues. Published on September 17, 2012 by Shane Ross,THE GUARDIAN Guardian photo by Shane Ross