Community Peace Officer Sergeant James Alaeddine takes part in a mock collision with a Morinville Community High School actor last spring. The mock collision was one of several youth initiatives Alaeddine has been involved with in his nearly three years in Morinville.
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The community will soon be short one peace officer. Community Peace Officer Sergeant James Alaeddine will leave his post Feb. 8 to begin a career with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS).
Alaeddine has been in Morinville for almost three years and said he has enjoyed the experience. “If I were to look back I wouldn’t do anything different,” he said. “I’m so glad I came to Morinville because it not only made me grow as an officer but grow as a person. I found out a lot about myself that I didn’t know, and it’s been great that way.”
The 27-year-old Community Peace Officer expressed his gratitude to the community, the Town of Morinville and the Morinville RCMP Detachment; all of whom he feels helped shape the officer he has become. The CPO Sergeant said he was pleased to have been able to take the Community Peace Officer program and work a vision for it within the community by working directly with the community.
During his time in Morinville, Alaeddine helped organize a bike education rodeo, a mock collision at the high school to raise awareness of the real consequences of drinking and driving, and even took the initiative to head up the local chapter for MADD Canada for the Northern Region. “In every law enforcement field or world there is always a struggle with the youth,” he explained. “That’s where the Positive Ticketing Program came in. Involving us and the RCMP, we had a chance to get involved with the youth in the community.”
But he is quick to make sure he doesn’t take the credit for the role he played in community policing. “I wouldn’t be where I am without a lot of help along the way,” he said. “The Town of Morinville has a lot to do with that and the community as well. I could not have achieved what I did if it was not for the help and the support of the RCMP.”
Alaeddine grew up in Edmonton. It is there he will return Feb. 8 when he starts his career with the EPS. But he takes with him the lessons he learned in Morinville as well as the personal growth he says he developed here. “I grew up in the city. A city boy,” he said. “Coming into a smaller community really opened up my eyes about how you can have that relationship between a law enforcement officer and a citizen of the town. It really makes you get that relationship and get a perspective of how somebody in a position like myself can really affect the town.” He said he has come away with a firm belief that one person, one law enforcement officer, can really make a difference when the support is there. “What Morinville has helped me establish is it has created a strong foundation for me where I can just build on it,” he said. “It’s going to make my career a whole lot better in the future just having these fundamentals.”
Being a police officer is something Alaeddine has wanted to pursue since he saw his first police car go screaming past, sirens blazing. As he grew older the desire did not diminish.
“It’s been a life-long dream of mine ever since I was a little kid,” he recalls. “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and this is why I’m in this job now. A lot of people use the Peace Officer position as a career, and it is a respectable career. For me it was a stepping-stone to be where I wanted to be.”
Alaeddine credits his parents and his upbringing in helping to shape his career path. “I’ve had great parents,” he said. “I’m indebted to my parents for the rest of my life for the way they brought me up.” It was that upbringing that taught him to prize loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness, empathy and humility, attributes he believes are necessary in a law enforcement officer. “I take that stuff very seriously.”
The Community Peace Officer said he has enjoyed coming to work in Morinville each day and hopes it has shown. “I really wanted the best for the community,” he said.
Morinville’s Director of Corporate Operations, David Schaefer, explained staff is sorry to see Alaeddine go but are pleased to see him taking the next step in his career. “Awesome opportunity for an excellent individual who has done very good work for the community,” Schaeffer said. “One of the things every community strives for is to create opportunities for growth. The work James had here in town enhanced his opportunities to apply. Now he is achieving a life-long goal.”
Schaefer said the Town of Morinville is posting for a Community Peace Officer Sergeant’s position.