Abbotsford Police plant new program, Operation Acorn

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has taken its “Operation” to elementary schools.

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has taken its “Operation” to elementary schools.

Operation Acorn began last week as an offshoot of the anti-gang Operation Impact presentations which began at local high schools in 2009 and later expanded to include middle schools.

Const. Ian MacDonald said that while Impact focused on turning kids away from the gang lifestyle, Acorn’s emphasis will be on positive choices and kindness.

The program’s title was chosen to reflect that.

“If, like an acorn, a child is given a good environment … and we eliminate ‘weeds’ in their lives, they can grow strong roots and that will bear fruit in the future,” he said.

The one-hour program is presented by Sgt. Mike Novakowski, the mastermind behind the “Operation” series, as well as a youth squad officer and an inspector or higher ranking officer.

It includes interactive components, such as when Novakowski rips phone books in half, “to show people if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish it, and there’s an inner strength to everyone,” MacDonald said.

He said the goal of Acorn is to show kids that they are important, and the community cares about them. Those kinds of messages help diminish the potential for them to become involved in criminal activity later on, he added.

“Like an acorn, they can grow into mighty oaks.”