DIGBY, NS - Digby RCMP Constable Colin Helm has received an award in recognition of his work with crime prevention and awareness promotion for different age groups across the county.
Helm received the Restorative Justice/Restorative Approaches Award Mar. 9 at the Crime Prevention Awards held by Nova Scotia’s Department of Justice.
The award description was for work promoting strong relationships with Aboriginal and African-Nova Scotian communities, which is only one of many causes Helm is involved in.
Helm had no idea he was up for an award until he received the call saying he’d received one.
“It was a really exciting day,” he said.
Helm has worked in Digby since June 2014 as the School Safety Resource Officer. Among his first projects in this position was Operation “Think of Me,” which involved working to eliminate school zone violations by posting signs designed by students to get drivers to slow down.
The project’s success was heard as far as Calgary, where a radio station discussed school zone issues in their city, when someone phoned in and mentioned Helm’s initiative.
Despite the project’s huge success, much much of Helm’s work goes unrecognized. He said doesn’t mind, as long as he’s able to bring awareness to people. Helm has worked on projects involving the reduction youth crime rates, raising awareness among seniors for fraud and cyber crime risk, and informing the general public on the importance of car seats and seatbelts.
He said he relies extensively on input from the public when determining what his next project will be.
“I’ve always been of the mindset that if one person has a question, 20 people probably have a question but are just too afraid to ask,” he said.
Helm’s resume of community work spans different age groups and background. He said Digby’s diversity in age, geographical area and cultural background is what he enjoys most about the job.
“Everybody has a different story, and everyone has different problems,” he said.
He hopes his work continues to eliminate stigma surrounding the RCMP, and wants people to know they shouldn’t be wary.
“I’m aware of the history of the RCMP in regards to different minority groups, and I want to work past it,” he said.
Helm and his colleagues are currently working on a campaign to promote awareness regarding Fentanyl in Digby County. He stresses that people can and should always come forward with questions or concerns on this or any other subject, and that the most rewarding part of his job is how these influence his approach to his work.
“It can change my mindset on how to approach my next project,” he said.
“I’m always learning.”