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‘Our basic goal is to help the students,’ says new OPP school resource officer

People of Collingwood: Const. Christine Dineen, Collingwood OPP school resource officer
2021-10-25 POCDineen JO-001
Const. Christine Dineen is the Collingwood OPP school resource officer.

A new resource officer has been patrolling Collingwood school halls for the past two months.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Const. Christine Dineen, 42, Collingwood OPP’s new school resource officer.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born and raised in Nottawa. My husband and I moved away for work purposes for about nine years, but then came back in 2015.

Q: What brought you back?

A: Family and work. I wanted to come back and work in the community in which I was raised.

We have two young children so it’s easier when you have grandparents close.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a police officer?

A: I had an interest in it since I was quite young. In Grade 10, I did a co-op here. It was the Collingwood Police Service at that time.

After that, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

I went to Georgian College for law, security and police foundations. During college I did another co-op here, then it was Collingwood OPP. I sat on the police services board for a short time in Collingwood. I joined the volunteer auxiliary in 2000 until 2006.

In 2007, I was hired full-time and was transferred to Grey County, where I worked for nine years.

Q: What about policing drew you into the field?

A: Just helping people. Back then, I really respected police. It seemed like a respectable profession. I had watched how officers interacted with the public.

Q: As of September, you’ve been moved into the school resource officer position. Can you talk about what you do in that position? What do you hope to bring to the role?

A: I was an auxiliary officer for about six years before I was hired on full-time. I rode a lot with the school resource officers.

When I came back to Collingwood in 2015, I expressed my interest to Const. Theresa Van Boven. I did a lot of work with her.

I like to work to connect with the students, being visible and being approachable to them. I also like to connect with the community surrounding the schools. I know they’re affected a lot by the student population.

Also, I like connecting with our community stakeholders too, like the Elizabeth Fry Society, the health unit, and our mental health resource unit.

It’s a great team, and when we work together as a team, our basic goal is to help the students we’re dealing with.

Q: In your first two months, what are some of the challenges youth are facing in returning to a more normal school year this September?

A: Mental health is a big thing for these kids. Being at home has really affected their mental health. Not being able to see their friends, being at school online – some kids did great with it but for some others, it really, really affected them.

Getting back into a bit of a more normal life, I'm finding, is a bit challenging for them.

It’s quite sad to see. I didn’t realize until I saw so many of them in person, how much it was actually affecting them.

Q: Do you have any stand-out stories about policing that you’d be willing to share?

A: There was one young girl that struggled really hard with a drug addiction. She didn’t come from a great family (situation). I helped her to the point where she got back into school, she got a part-time job at a local grocery store. For years after, she continued to call and thank me for helping to turn her life around from that one interaction we had one night.

It was nice to hear. She graduated, and became a productive member of society. When we first met, she was in a really bad place.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: We really enjoy our family time together. We enjoy camping and ATV-ing with the kids and hanging out with our extended family. They mean a lot to us.

For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email jessica@villagemedia.ca.


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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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