Skip to content

Access keys for

  • h Home
  • m Menu
  • 0 Show list of access keys
  • 2 Skip to content
  • 3 Skip to top

Katie has a little friend who helps make the learning stick when she visits schools and early childhood centres around Southland.

Constable Katie Haldane, school community officer.Larry is a little fluffy lion who works in the schools of Southland as an honorary police officer. He turns up in new entrant classrooms, as well as kindergartens and daycare centres in his uniform and hi-vis vest.

His job is to grab the attention of young children and help them remember the most important ways to travel safely.

Constable Katie Haldane works as a School Community Officer based out of Invercargill and brings Larry the soft toy along for the ride.

"The new entrants just love him. When Larry comes, he's always buckled in his car seat," says Katie.

"So that's how we'll introduce our programme. I talk about how he has safely travelled here, and we come out and have a look at the police car. We'll make sure that he's buckled correctly into the back seat of the vehicle."

Katie says Larry is an example of her creative approach to engaging little ones.

"That's an example of how I've put my own flair into the way it’s delivered. The ultimate goal is that they're learning their own tactics to ensure they keep themselves safe when they're traveling.

"I've got a pedestrian crossing that I've created that we can set up in the class. And if we're talking bus safety, we'll set up a 'bus' in class and I have one of the students be the bus driver and we talk about how serious it is when you distract a bus driver. We have some laughs while they're learning.

"Then we'll go out and we'll do a practical session. That might be how we navigate around the car park safely or crossing the road safely," she says.

When students are learning bike safety, Katie will get them up on their feet with a little dance and action routine to practice the 2-4-1 helmet check. One day, she might add music.

"I'm learning the guitar, but it's taking a long time. That's a work in progress," she laughs.

She's putting her energy and imagination into the job and has a year and a half under her belt as an SCO, seven years in total in the force.

"Actually, well before I was in the police, this was a dream role for me, to work with youth in a preventative educational space. I tossed up between being a teacher or a police officer. With this role, I sort of feel like I've ticked both those boxes."

Top Feedback