New face for police liaison
From court house to school house

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 20/97) - She sees the job as an investment into the future of her home.

"I feel this is an investment into my community -- this is my home," said RCMP Const. Gil Belsheim, who is the new school liaison officer beginning in September.

The mother of a five-year-old daughter and a grown stepson looks forward to her work in the school and considers it another way to give back to her community.

She's lived in the North since the early 80s, spending time in Sanikiluaq, Iqaluit, and most recently in Yellowknife.

She is a tireless volunteer at Koinonia private school in the city and works hard to make life better for her fellow Yellowknifers.

Belsheim, who just finished a three-year stint as the Mountie responsible for those being held in custody who attend court, will be replacing Pat Aultman.

Belsheim said her court experience will help her in the new position.

"I have seen young people come through the court system... it has helped some of them turn their lives around," she said.

"The added bonus in the schools is that not only do you work with people who are turning their lives around -- you're also working with people in a positive setting."

Keeping the positive aspects of the job in mind, Belsheim, however, knows that there are problems she will have to deal with. This, she said, is what she's in the schools for.

"I'm one of those people who constantly looks for solutions," she said. "Nothing is ever learned if you dodge or don't deal with problems as they come up. If you don't, they come back to haunt you."

One of the issues she would like to address this year is conflict resolution for young people. She is aware that it can be a difficult thing for them and would like to help them learn how to manage confrontations.

"Teach them how to deal with conflicts so we don't see it in the court system," she said.

Like Aultman, Belsheim's office will be located at St. Patrick high school, but will only serve as a homebase.

"It's not exclusively a St. Pat's position," she said. "It's to deal with all schools."