Portage la Prairie MLA Jeff Bereza welcomed the local high school's Roving Campus crew in his office recently. Between teachers, students, and his own staff, they had about 25 people who enjoyed some pizza for lunch and some great talks. 

"These kids just wanted to present to me some of their thoughts on how Portage could be better and what some of the issues are that they see, too. We also had an opportunity to meet the three new Community Safety Officers. The Community Safety Officers' Office is just two doors down from my office. So, they came in as well and 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."

roveS​​​​tudents gather and discuss Roving Campus

He notes these CSOs are there to help people out. Bereza says the first time he met them, it was about 4:00 in the afternoon and his assistant, Susie, said, "I think there's some kids in trouble out front."

"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. And to see the compassion and the caring from these Community Safety Officers! These kids were very distraught and very apprehensive. You They thought these are police officers and were concerned. They didn't want to get involved in that. The Community Safety Officers just did such an unbelievable job from taking water out in the middle of the parking lot to make 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."

ChatBereza chatting with student

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