Const. Yelena Avoine, St. Albert's newest RCMP officer
Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 06:00 am
There’s a new officer in town, but she’s no rookie.
Const. Yelena Avoine is the newest addition to the St. Albert RCMP detachment. She was transferred to St. Albert mid-December after an eight-year stint with the Morinville RCMP.
Avoine has taken over the position vacated by Const. Janice Schoepp in the crime prevention and victim services unit.
In Morinville, Avoine manned the unit solo. She was in charge of nine schools in Morinville and Sturgeon County.
Avoine said the hardest part of moving was leaving her students.
“When I left it was difficult because of course you’re used to seeing the same kids. I pretty much knew all the kids from Grade 1 to Grade 11,” she said. The students enrolled in the first D.A.R.E substance abuse prevention program she taught at Namao School are now nearly in their graduating year.
Working with people was one of the main reasons Avoine joined the RCMP. Prior to becoming an officer, she worked as a social worker.
“I’ve always wanted to help,” she said. “Then when I started working in community policing, working with kids, and even now in junior high and high schools, I really enjoy it.”
In 2005 Avoine took her first posting with the RCMP in Morinville.
“I never thought that I would be stationed in Alberta,” said the native of Saint-Quentin, a small francophone town in northwest New Brunswick.
“When I got to Morinville, it was so similar to my hometown – it is really family-oriented – so the adjustment went very well. The size, the values, are very similar.”
Quickly Avoine became part of the community, leading the D.A.R.E. program in area schools and acting as a police liaison with several community groups including Citizens on Patrol, Sturgeon Rural Crime Watch, Block Parents and Victim Services.
Now part of St. Albert’s four-person crime prevention and victim services unit, Avoine is the school resource officer for École Father Jan Community School, École Marie Poburan, and Sturgeon Heights.
She will also be teaching a Grade 8 drug awareness course at École Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d’Youville, Sturgeon Heights, École Alexandre-Taché and Lorne Akins Junior High.
While in Morinville, Avoine led the annual RCMP Citizens’ Academy, a 10-week evening program where residents got a sneak peak inside rural community policing through talks by guest speakers.
Since Avoine’s departure, the academy – the only one run by the RCMP in the province – and has been put on hiatus.
Avoine said there might be an opportunity to expand St. Albert’s youth academy to include residents, but she will have to see how things roll out.
“I’m still looking at what’s happening here and how I can be involved,” she said.