Police hope new YouthLink centre will deter children from crime

Calgary is getting a new interpretive centre that police hope will deter children from becoming criminals later in life.

$5-million intepretive centre will open in 2015

Children participating in a summer camp got to check out how to fingerprint at the new YouthLink centre, which is set to open in 2015. The centre is under construction, so the summer camp is being held at police headquarters nearby. (CBC)

Calgary is getting a new interpretive centre that police hope will deter children from becoming criminals later in life.

Closed after last year's flood, YouthLink is in the process of building a new $5-million technologically-advanced centre that is expected to attract about 30,000 children every year. 

Alberta's justice minister announced additional funding for the facility on Friday.

"I'm quite bullish on this particular project because it has the potential to assist youth at a young age and help them make positive changes so that they don't get involved in gangs and other criminal behaviour as they get older," said Jonathan Denis.

Calgary police say reaching out to children is one of their most important roles. Officers work with children throughout grade school. 

Calgary's police chief Rick Hanson says he thinks the new centre will build on that work to help children make the right choices.

"This is the most important thing we do in policing today," Hanson said. "People that find their way into jails and prisons made it there because the early warning signs were ignored."

The new centre, which is located by Calgary's police headquarters in the city's northeast, will open in 2015. It will also be used for Calgary Police Service’s archives and museum.