CPS officers volunteer to set up Costa Rica playground (March 3, 2015)

Written by Jo Ann Lawrence

Published by Calgary Beacon on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pictured above, Calgary and Edmonton Police Service officers, along with their Costa Rican counterparts, in Costa Rica in June 2014.

Seven Calgary Police Service officers who are volunteering their time will be heading to the Central American country of Costa Rica to help set up playground equipment in the city of San Jose.

The CPS officers along with three members of the Edmonton Police Service and chaplains from both services will partner up with the international relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse to create a much needed play space in the capital city.

“We look forward to having the Calgary Police Service members join our efforts  to offer hope and help to hurting people in Costa Rica,” said Fred Weiss, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Purse Canada.

The playground is being set up in a neighbourhood where youth are at risk for gang involvement.

The officers are leaving Calgary on Thursday, March 5 for the 10-day trip.

In addition to installing the playground, the team will also be meeting with members of the Costa Rica Police Guard to share their expertise on gang prevention and youth intervention, as well as learn about Costa Rican culture.

“As we have seen in the past, interactions between Calgary police officers and their Costa Rican counterparts can provide practical benefit to the participating police officers of both countries”, says Weiss.

A/Sgt. Garry Woods, a CPS member of the Diversity Resources Team who works closely with Calgary’s Latin American community says “I had the opportunity to go on this trip last year and I know all the police officers involved found the experience to be extremely valuable”.

“I learned a lot about the Costa Rican way of life and the power of serving others, and I hope we were able to share some valuable crime prevention expertise with the local police.”

The CPS officers on the team are mostly from the Community and Youth Services Section, which is responsible for youth education, youth intervention and mentorship, and community services like the Victim Assistance Unit and the Diversity Resources Team.

The playground was donated to Samaritan’s Purse by Kids Around the World and was shipped to Costa Rica late last month.

Along with building the playground, the team will be doing some other charitable work during the trip as well, including visiting local rehabilitation clinics and helping to distribute Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to impoverished children.

Click here to learn more about Samaritan's Purse.