Kalinowski to attend youth, justice and community conference in Ontario

Alex
Alex Di Pietro
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Sgt. Brent Kalinowski is travelling to Niagara Falls, Ont., at the end of the month to discuss how the Community Mobilization model can be used to reduce criminal activity among youth. 

Sgt. Brent Kalinowski will attend the 2013 Youth, Justice and Community Conference, being held from Feb. 27 to March 1 in Niagara Falls, Ont. 

“I was asked to speak about community mobilization and the growing movement not only in Prince Albert, but within the province,” he said. “(I’ll talk about) how it works and the results, because there’s a tremendous amount of interest right across the country regarding its work.”

It had been exactly two years on Feb. 9 since the first Community Mobilization Prince Albert (CMPA) meeting was held. Now in his new role with the province, Kalinowski, a founding member of CMPA, will attend the 2013 Youth, Justice and Community Conference, being held from Feb. 27 to March 1, as the final speaker.

“To have the invite to not only come and speak but to also be the closing keynote on putting a lot of the rest of the pieces together, that is not only just a feather in my cap, but a feather for all the men and women who helped put this together to start it here in Prince Albert,” he said.

“I’m elated, I’m honoured in being able to spread the word and be part of that, but I’m just a voice of the work that’s happening right here in Prince Albert,” Kalinowski added. “Work not just from the police service, but from social service, education, corrections, health, and it’s because of those groups and group commitment that started here in Prince Albert that we’re seeing the success and we’re getting the interest nationally and internationally.”

The conference is being hosted by Ontario’s Committee of Youth Officers (COYO). Kalinowski noted the significance of the conference’s focus being on youth.

“Over 50 per cent of the conversations we had about the situations were youth, and that’s quite a large representative for 12- to 18-year-olds,” he said. “That’s where you’re going to get more of an impact if you can start intervening earlier at those stages.”

The next step, Kalinowski said, is to figure out a solution.

“The obvious answer is we have to start looking at what got those youth that were in trouble from 12 to 18 and how they got there when they were zero to 11,” he said. “It’s re-examining and rethinking what risk factors are or elevated risk for people in a much younger group, because that is present as well.

“You talk to anybody in the education system or anybody who has been teaching for any length of time, they can see that in their classroom just through their experience,” Kalinowski continued. “There are those who are probably going to be OK and those who definitely will not.”

Kalinowski noted that most of the criminality that he has dealt with did not operate in isolation. There were risk factors that led to the criminality.

“There are other ties to it -- addictions, education, literacy, truancy, parenting -- a lot of those systemic issues that we never really pushed on previously, and now we’re starting to do that in our collaborative partnerships, and that’s how you’re going to be able to treat some of these things more effectively,” he said.

CMPA is a two-tiered multi-agency team consisting of the Hub and Centre of Responsibility (COR). Its main focus is to build partnerships within the community for the purpose of reducing crime and enhancing community safety and wellness. 

“It’s not a policing program. It has to involve everybody,” Kalinowski said. “We’ve come a long way … It’s beyond our borders here in the city. Many different places are referring to the Saskatchewan experience and Prince Albert, specifically.

“They’re calling it the Saskatchewan experience as well and that’s been referred to not only from just other colleagues, but professors, educators, people in economics. It’s spreading really quickly,” Kalinowski added.

Kalinowski is currently working as a consultant with the provincial Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime strategy, which looks after community mobilization efforts and any other partnership that communities want to have.

“I moved from my role with Mobilization to the Building Partnerships strategy to help facilitate some of these replications and move these types of strategies across the province,” he said.

For a full list of the sessions and workshops that will take place at the conference, visit:

www.coyo.on.ca/coyo_conf_agenda_2013.pdf

alex.dipietro@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Committee of Youth Officers

Geographic location: Ontario, Saskatchewan

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