Const. Eric Payne

school resource officers change the guard

Oak Bay police assign new school officer

Const. Eric Payne looks forward to welcoming students at the new Oak Bay High as he takes over the post of school resource officer from Const. Julie Chanin this week.

“It’s been a fantastic two years,” Chanin said. “I thank the students for friendly conversation, interesting questions and thank the staff for their support.”

Chanin, who heads back to patrol, has been with Oak Bay Police three years and spent 12 years with RCMP detachments in Port McNeil and West Shore prior to that.

“I’m never surprised by how dedicated and committed our schools and staff are. They’re always consistently supportive of police and community relations with the students,” Chanin said. “And it goes without saying – the kids are fantastic.”

Payne, an Oak Bay Police officer of a year, came from Victoria Police where he worked a decade. Prior to that he was a commercial helicopter pilot.

“I’ve always enjoyed challenging myself and learning new things,” Payne said. “It’s a great chance to make a difference in kids’ lives.”

The job is all about building relationships say both the outgoing and incoming resource officer.

“It’s a far reaching post not confined to four walls,” Chanin said.

They attend school dances, fundraisers and provide lockdown drill support. Oak Bay Police offer WITS (Walk away, Ignore, Talk it Out, Seek help) and PARTY (Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth) programs, as well as programs such as the bike roadeo offering safety education and Law 12 lectures at the high school. At Halloween they talk safety with youth and, all year long, help students with the graduated licensing program. They’re also involved in school zone traffic enforcement and education.

“If it wasn’t for the school officer, for most kids, the only interaction they would have with police would be negative,” Payne said.

He looks forward to being the face of that “positive first contact.”