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Calgary police learn how to shred on a skateboard

Workshop for officers is a public art initiative commissioned by the City of Calgary

Const. Gemma Baker said she now has an appreciation for the art of skateboarding after her first class at skate school.

Jennifer Friesen/ for Metro

Const. Gemma Baker said she now has an appreciation for the art of skateboarding after her first class at skate school.

Next time you see a Calgary Police Service officer at your local skatepark, you might want to ask: can you land a kickflip?

Artists Eric & Mia are behind what they call the “skate school.” This semester: skateboarding 101 for police officers is on the itinerary.

The one-time workshop teaches Community Resource Officers and School Resource Officers the basics like skateboarding terms and skills.  

This is the third project from the pair after they were commissioned to create as part of a public art project. Eric Moschopedis said all of their ideas came from a public engagement process where they noticed common concerns and trends in feedback.

“You hear those stereotypes bandied around quite often, from all sides it’s a fair assessment, but it’s not entirely true,” said Moschopedis. “The hope is a sense of camaraderie is built up between the skate community and police officers.”

Moschopedis said from what he understands CPS have 39 officers in the resource officer division. In total, nine officers, including a Calgary Transit peace officer, are enrolled in the course. School-aged students and professionals are teaching officers how to navigate the city’s freshly built parks.

Const. Gemma Baker is a school resource officer taking the literal crash course. She realized on Tuesday, she rides regular – not goofy or mongo. Baker said the helmet and padding she picked up really helped with the first few spills.

“I tumbled a few times,” Baker said. “But I had all my pads on, so I was okay.”

She said in her work at schools skateboarding can now be an easy opportunity to bring up conversation and relate to students. She’s hoping to practice on her own time and get better for her next lesson.

“Just being able to see officers going there and interacting…and appreciate the art of skateboarding, because I learned, it’s very difficult,” Baker said. “It’s just about building up that relationship with the youth and community.”

Don’t get too excited, this doesn’t mean CPS is investing in skateboard beat police. But next time you see an officer approaching the skatepark ask them: can you pop an ollie?

“To actually be able to ride on them in our uniform, isn’t easy. If we fall off in our full kit, that’s not good,” Baker said. “But there are some tricks that you can do just standing…those kind of things would be neat to show the kids.”

Women on board

Artists Eric & Mia also noticed a gap when it comes to female skaters in Calgary.

That’s why they’ve introduced a female-geared skate school to boost women’s confidence in trying the sport.

“We want to increase user-ship at the parks, and one of the groups that tends not to use the parks is women,” Moschopedis said.  “We’re giving them the skillset right then and there at the parks so they can use them.”

The idea with the one-time course is that at the end of the workshop the ladies will be able to act as mentors for the female community.

After complete they will hopefully join the 100% Skate club, an established group of ladies who meet up on a regular basis to shred at different skateparks in Calgary.

The artists are going to collaborate with the women to create an embroidered patch for grads to distribute when they come across other female skaters.

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