Charlie Coombs pets K-9 at Read with me and the RCMP. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Charlie Coombs pets K-9 at Read with me and the RCMP. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

VIDEO: Vernon-area students read for rank

RCMP visited JW Inglis on Wednesday as part of the Read with Me and the RCMP program.

RCMP and the B.C. Dragoons visited JW Inglis on Wednesday to celebrate a successful year of Read with Me and the RCMP.

This program was established by Const. Gary McLaughlin in 2009 as a way to promote reading in local schools. JW Inglis in Lumby and Coldstream Elementary Schools participated in the program this year.

Students from Kindergarten to Grade 4 start the school year at the “Constable” rank. They are then “promoted” over the course of the school year through the various RCMP ranks for every 25 books read.

The students that get to the “Commissioner” rank are given a ride to school by an RCMP Member in a police vehicle. At the end of the year, the RCMP attends the school with various vehicles and police equipment. On Wednesday, this included a helicopter that landed on the schoolyard, a tank, a motorcycle, a police boat, a drone and a K-9 police dog. The kids were able to interact with officers and were encouraged to ask questions.

The RCMP were joined by the TAP-V at JW Inglis Elementary in Lumby as a special guest courtesy of the B.C. Dragoons who also actively support local communities.

“This is really a great way to connect with the community in a positive way — especially now,” said Const. McLaughlin as he reflected on the many news stories about police brutality around the world.

The program has been recognized by the Columbia Basin Trust and the North Okanagan Early Years Council as a Champion of Literacy.

“This works and it gets kids reading,” McLaughlin added. “And it’s been the best year we’ve ever done.”

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Police landed a helicopter in the schoolyard. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Police landed a helicopter in the schoolyard. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Students at JW Inglis Elementary ask questions of RCMP officers after the success of the 2017-2018 program. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Students at JW Inglis Elementary ask questions of RCMP officers after the success of the 2017-2018 program. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)