BRIDGETOWN, NS - RCMP Const. Cheryl Ponee has been in the Annapolis Valley for less than two months, but already she likes the people and the place and is looking forward to connecting with youth in her role as the new School Safety Resource Officer in Annapolis County.
She had her first big introduction to students her second week working with Annapolis District RCMP out of the Bridgetown detachment when she teamed up with other officers, including Community Program Officer Adam Burns, at a Safe Grad mock disaster at Annapolis West Education Centre in Annapolis Royal.
Working with students is nothing new for Ponee who held the same job for eight years with the Enfield detachment. She’s been an RCMP member for more than 20 years and an active community member where ever she goes.
“I love it. I find people here are very pro-police, very supportive,” she said of her move to Annapolis County. “It’s a big area, but it’s a gorgeous area to cover. There’s no better scenery than down here.”
Const. Ponee has a passion for working with kids and can’t wait to get into Annapolis County schools to work with youth to bridge the gap between the police and young people.
“My priority is to work in partnership with students, teachers, school administrators, parents, and community to improve the perception of police and youth and establish a safe school community,” she said. “During the summer months, I will be hitting the parks and campgrounds on the mountain bikes to liaise with the youth and the community.”
Const. Ponee said the bike patrols will be sporadic over the summer.
“What we’re initiating, and hoping to do, is big areas where there are lots of youth, like Upper Clements Parks, or at the Keji campground,” she said. “It’s just a proactive approach to bridging the gap between youth and police.”
She’ll be in a marked police uniform so kids will recognize her as a police officer. And you can stop and say hello.
“I’m just new to the area so I want to meet all the kids in the area I’m going to be working with in September. So this is a way for me to get out and meet the kids where there’s no school right now. So the hope is to meet them and know them for September.”
She’s also planning bike patrols in Middleton around Rotary Park and in Bridgetown as well.
“I won’t only be policing in the schools but emphasizing the importance of a healthy life style,” Const. Ponee said. “Being a fitness and zumba instructor for 25 years, I will be looking forward to bringing that aspect in the school as well.”
She’ll be doing fitness and zumba classes with youth, something she’s already doing in her hours off from work.
“I’m already implementing that in the community by teaching four to five classes a week at Training for Life in Middleton,” she said. “I also do fundraising by teaching free zumba classes with donations going to CAPS (Companion Animal Protection Society of Annapolis) as well as Cuban Dog Tales (A non profit organization that helps to rescue and get animals adopted from Cuba).”
She also teaches and trains the instructors at resorts in Cuba.
“While in Cuba, I help to supply many outreach villages with humanitarian supplies such as clothing, medical supplies, hygiene items, etc. that I buy myself along with donations from the community.”
Const. Ponee works out of the RCMP Detachment in Bridgetown. She can be reached at 902-665-4481.