MIDDLETON - Adam Burns hopes he can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Dan MacGillivray is confident he will.
Burns is the new RCMP Community Program Officer in Annapolis County and will be working with students in schools and with community groups to continue to help make the area a safer place in which to live.
“The role of the Community Programs Officer is to be the face of Annapolis District RCMP in the community,” said district commander Staff-Sgt. Dan MacGillivray, citing the anti-bullying WITS LEADS program it uses in schools. “It’s the Community Programs Officer that really is the person who spearheads those programs. As well they’re also a very important member of the office and they work very closely with our other public safety partners like CrimeStoppers, MADD Canada – all these different programs. He’s the person who goes out and inter-acts.”
Burns, from Middleton, has the background for the job. He worked at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville, and before that worked at the Lawrencetown Education Centre.
“I’ve worked with youth at the alternative high school level and youth that are incarcerated,” said Burns, “roughly 15 years of that. I bring a wealth of knowledge, I like to think, to the position. And I’m from Middleton. I grew up here.”
That background gives him an edge because he has a lot of local contacts and he knows all the principals of the schools -- and knows the area.
“I’ve had 15 years working with the good and the bad,” said Burns. “Even growing up I’ve always been drawn to helping people, and helping youth is what I enjoy doing, as I’ve done in the past.”
He describes the role of Community Programs Officers as an exceptional opportunity.
“I get to go from school to school. I get this whole Annapolis County. Like I said, I’m from Middleton and I want to help out the area.”
A lot of what he does is give people, especially young people, the information and guidance to make right choices.
He’s about three weeks into the job and is loving it.
The role of Community Programs Officer came into being back in 2009 as a partnership between the County of Annapolis and the Annapolis District RCMP.
“The Community Programs Officer worked out of the Bridgetown office but was involved in all of these programs,” MacGillivray said. “Then in 2014 there was a change ... the position became a part of the Public Service Commission of Canada.”
MacGillivray said the change of funding secured the position but the role of the officer hasn’t changed.
“It’s really evolved since 2009 and it’s just been tremendous work. I’ve been the detachment commander here now since 2015 and I can say it’s one of the best programs … in Nova Scotia,” MacGillivray said. “There’s really only one other Community Programs Officer in the Province of Nova Scotia. It’s a wonderful asset to have here. The work that’s been done by the Community Programs Officer in Annapolis County is the envy of detachment commanders throughout the province.”
The district commander believes Burns is the right person for the job. He replaces the original Community Programs Officer Rodena Renaud who has moved to another position.
“I’m very pleased to have Adam Burns here working with us. I was involved in the hiring process. I know his background,” said MacGillivray. “He brings a wealth of experience in youth programming which is very important, as well as building partnerships and working with partners. I want the people of Annapolis County, and the parents and the kids, to get to know Adam Burns. He’ll be a very familiar face in the community.”
He said Burns will also work with other important RCMP partners such as Schools Plus, Family Matters, and different organizations in the county that he said bring a lot of value to the county.
Burns isn’t the only RCMP person who works in the schools.
“We’re very fortunate that in Annapolis County we have two positions that are focused on our schools and programming within our schools” MacGillivray said. Annapolis District RCMP also has a School Safety Resource Officer, Const. Dave Fairfax, who Burns will work closely with.
“They’ll work together delivering programming in the schools,” said MacGillivray. “The role of the School Safety Resource Officer has a little bit different responsibility in that if there are actually offenses that occur in the schools then it’s the School Safety Resource Officer that investigates those types of instances.”
He said that could include an incident that rises to the level of assault, or if there’s issues with the inappropriate sharing of pictures, or cyber crime.
“That is the role of the School Safety Resource Officer,” he said. “But they work very closely together on programs like WITS LEADS, programs like Cops n’ Kids. You’ll see both of them working on that together.”