MLA Jeff Bereza had an opportunity to meet the three new Community Safety Officers in Portage la Prairie. Their office is located two doors down from his. 

"They came in, introduced themselves, and talked about what they do for the community and how they're going to work in the downtown area to try and show people that Portage la Prairie can be a safe place, and it's a welcoming place."

He notes these officers are there to help people out. Bereza says the first time that he met them was about 4:00 p.m. one day last week and his assistant, Susie, said, "I think there's some kids in trouble out front."

CSOCSOs visit MLA Jeff Bereza's office

"Sure enough, we looked and there were two young people bent down on the ground crying and yelling," adds Bereza. "So, Susie ran next door, contacted the Community Safety Officers and these kids had been bear sprayed. To see the compassion and the caring from these Community Safety Officers! These kids were very distraught and very apprehensive. They thought these are police officers and were concerned. They didn't want to get involved in that. The CSOs just did such an unbelievable job from taking water out in the middle of the parking lot to making sure these kids were okay. They probably spent an hour with them. I can tell you, over that hour, the kids, toward the end, were laughing and joking with them. I think they formed a real bond there."

He explains it's unfortunate that a situation like that had to arise, but notes it's an example to show that Portage has these Community Safety Officers that are going to do such an amazing job, and continue to make our community feel safer than what it currently is. 

Mayor Sharilyn Knox adds:

“The Community Safety Officers are currently out and about, engaging with businesses, collaborating with resources, and more. However, it is important for our community to note that the program has not been officially launched yet. Once it is ready, we will provide the public with all the essential details regarding how the program will be operated. Please stay connected for updates as we are excited to share this initiative with our city." -