From the Ground Up: Can’t BEAT the Heat

September is one of my favorite months on the beat for many reasons; the pace and call load seems to slow as kids are back to school, and the influx of summer tourists have come and gone from our beautiful city.  But one of the reasons I enjoy September the most, is the weather – warm temperate days, late mild nights, and most importantly, no bugs! Even though the weather does not stop us from getting the job done, it can play a huge part in how comfortable us beat officers are when walking. beat officers

Most would think that our Saskatchewan winters are the biggest challenge for beat officers, but for us it’s easier to warm up than it is to cool down. I have heard many times, “You guys don’t walk when it’s really cold, do you?” I usually reply that it’s not so bad – a quick coffee break and a chat with a bar owner or a restaurant waitress and we are good to head back out. Many years ago, my beat mentor Dave “Doc” Campbell taught me that a good beat officer never allows himself to get too “cold, thirsty or lonely” and I have adhered to those teachings since day one.

As Police officers, we have a certain amount of gear that we need to have on us at all times, all of which weighs about 20 lbs. For example, our protective vests could be the difference between going home every day or not, so we wear them day in and day out. But they are hot and uncomfortable every which way you look at it and make for some challenging days when walking the beat in the heat of summer. Unlike those in cars, us beat guys don’t have the luxury of air conditioning. Now this might sound like I am complaining a bit and even though the heat of our Saskatchewan summers can wear on the best of us, summer is a great time out on the beat.

With summer drawing to a close, I always notice that the pace of people changes as well. The spring and summer months seem to be a time of rushing to get things done, whereas when fall rolls around, people seem to slow a bit as if trying to prolong the inevitable which sometimes comes sooner that we’d like. This is especially noticeable downtown when the patios and sundecks are full of people trying to take advantage of our shorter days and even shorter periods of good sun.

ChessOne of the most fulfilling parts on my job as a beat officer is just how many comments I receive about how safe people feel in our downtown, and how they love to see officers on foot interacting with the public. People from other places comment on how they wish their city had officers on foot and how it adds a unique personal level of comfort to people working and visiting our downtown. In hearing these daily positive comments, I know they attest to the effectiveness of foot patrols and I am happy that I have been a part of adding one more spoke in the wheel of policing and public safety within our city.

 

So with all that, I encourage people to get out and enjoy the last few great days of summer while it lasts – I know us beat officers will.

All the best

Chess

Posted in A Day in the Life, From The Ground Up (by Cst. Derek Chesney) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Testing your motorcycle: What you need to know

Due to the amendments that City Council made to the Noise Bylaw earlier this year, members of our Traffic Unit are conducting decibel testing to ensure motorcycles fall within the designated parameters.

The process is a simple one and takes roughly 3 minutes of your time. Here’s how it works:

The equipment is set-up based on the position of the exhaust pipe. The decibel reader is positioned at a 45 degree angle, 20 inches away from the exhaust. The reader and exhaust are also level.

         dB Testing 1          db Testing 3

After the equipment is in place, we ask the rider to make sure the bike is in neutral, and if it is, to start it up. We let it settle into idle and begin the first test. Section 5.1(c) of the Noise Bylaw states that the sound emitted cannot exceed 92 dB when idling. However, we’re giving people plenty of grace in allowing a +/- 2 dB points. So if you’re bike was 94.1, it would fail the test.

Motor Vehicle Noise Prohibition

The second part of the testing is done when the bike is revved. We test two-cylinder bikes, 3 times, at 2000 RPM’s. Again, we take the lowest reading. And then we take the lowest reading of those three to determine whether the bike passes or fails.

And that’s it! If your motorcycle exceeds the limits, it’s your choice to make the necessary adjustments before the 2015 riding season. Because, as you’re all aware, the remainder of 2014 is an amnesty period and no tickets will be written!

*********

The video below illustrates the testing of a two-cylinder bike at idle. You can see in the video that the decibel reader fluctuates. We take the lowest reading that we see appear. What was the lowest reading you saw?

Testing of Motorcycle at Idle

For a listing of upcoming testing clinics, click here.

Posted in Events, Traffic Alerts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter Q & A: Traffic Stops

Likely, you’ve all witnessed a traffic stop, and if you have, you will have noticed the way that we position our vehicles. When stopped for a traffic violation, motorists are required to safely pull over to the right side of the road and stop. The Police Cruiser then pulls in behind them, but offset a bit. Last week, we were questioned why.

The simple answer is that Officers are trained to place a great deal of emphasis on their safety and yours so they can do the job of protecting the public and ensuring everyone’s safety. Positioning their vehicles in such a manner forces traffic to slow down in the nearby lanes, and acts as a safety barrier when the Officer is out of their vehicle. Consider the diagram below.

Traffic Stop positioning

If the motorist ever needed to get out of their vehicle, the cruiser acts as a safety barrier for them as well.

We understand this might be an inconvenience to some, but we’re just trying to keep ourselves safe!

For more information on traffic stops, please visit our website.

Posted in Public Safety Messages, Traffic Alerts, Twitter Q & A | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Operation ID: Mark your property

The display of an Operation ID sticker can act as a strong theft deterrent to criminals. This is because they know that marked items can be positively identified by the owner.

Criminals are also aware that ‘fences’, or receivers of stolen property are reluctant to buy marked items, for the same reasons they are reluctant to sell them.

A criminal found in possession of marked stolen property gives additional evidence for police to charge them with possession of stolen property.

Getting started

Mark all valuable items with a number that is unique to your company (ex, a phone number) or company name. It would be best to have both name and number marked on the item.

If the equipment can be ordered with the number permanently stenciled or engraved by the manufacturer, that is the best option. If that’s not possible, an electric engraver or a security UV pen can be used to mark the items.

Once the items are marked, post decals on equipment storage units.

Operation Identification

Operation Identification

Tips to prevent crime

  • Even if you have marked your property for identification, keep a record of the serial numbers, make, and model of item
  • Use a high security lock with reinforced shackles or shackle covers to deter thieves from cutting it off with a bolt cutter
  • Do not leave tools unsecured in construction sites overnight
  • Do not leave building materials unsecured overnight
  • For maximum deterrence, the ID number should be non-removable and readily visible
  • Keep a record of what items are marked and where the mark is placed

Crime Prevention… It’s up to you!

Operation Identification is only one step in preventing theft. Taking additional measures such as making sure there is good lighting and high security locks and other security precautions on the job site will help to further reduce crime.

Operation Identification is designed to deter the theft of valuable items from your business. It will help to provide police with a way to easily identify stolen, or lost property and quickly return it back to the rightful owner.

The Saskatoon Police Service encourages you to reduce your risk of loss by participating in Operation Identification. 

For more information on this crime prevention program, please contact:

Saskatoon Police Service Community Liaison Unit:
Cst. Hal Lam (306) 975-8032
Cst. Kim Robson (306) 975-2265

www.police.saskatoon.sk.ca

Posted in Crime Prevention | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome, Matrix!

A few months ago, Cst. Joel Lalonde and his family said goodbye to Diego, a Police Service dog, and family member.

On July 31, Cst. Lalonde’s newest partner, Matrix, completed training and is now a fully operational member of the Canine Unit. Matrix is a 15-month old Belgian Malinois, a breed that is a first for the SPS. In just a few days on the job, he has already assisted in the arrest of two persons, and recovered property in a third instance.

PSD Matrix

PSD Matrix

Welcome, Matrix!

Posted in A Day in the Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Batman Day!

Did you know that Batman is the only superhero that doesn’t have super powers? In the graphic novels and movies, he’s equipped with a plethora of gizmos and gadgets, AND a desire to help people. Just like Police Officers. We have the tools to fight and investigate crime, and keep people safe. The only thing we’re missing is maybe a cape!

As such, we’d like to wish Batman, and all of our fellow crime fighters in law enforcement, a Happy ‘Batman’ Day!

Police

Posted in In Our Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter Q & A: Fraud Awareness Tip

Recently had this question come in through our Twitter account and thought it would be a great fraud awareness tip to share with others! Here is the question:

Answer: Yes, this is true. Skimmers have become very savvy and take out the blocking mechanism inside the machine so the card goes in further. This allows them to read the magnetic strip with all your banking information on it.

If a machine is taking in the chip too far, it has been tampered with! Let the business know and notify your banks about being compromised!

Posted in Crime Prevention, Public Safety Messages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tour of the new HQ

Check out the below timeline from Twitter that detailed our tour through the nearly-complete Saskatoon Police Service Headquarters!


 

Posted in In Our Community | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Police Officer’s Mental Health

The concept of mental health is a hot topic – both in and out of police circles. The connection between Policing and mental health continues to be examined on different levels. It is no surprise that Police, being first responders, are involved daily in face-to-face interactions with members of our community that struggle with mental health issues.

On the flip side, the stigmatized topic of a police officer’s mental health also needs to be addressed; who takes care of those who take care of others?

Many people, officers included, may believe the police are highly trained emergency personnel and that this somehow excludes them from the emotions of traumatic events.

On the surface the first responder gets the job done and through the high-level training, seems impervious to the pain of the people who they have just helped. I can assure you that this is far from the truth. We are human and trauma affects us all quite differently. Sometimes it will affect you immediately, but often it may not affect you until down the road.

I vividly remember attending my first fatal car crash years ago. It was a blur of frenzy and chaos – people standing around to watch the emergency personnel work midst the tragedy of the situation.

I got to the scene at 9:30 p.m. I was there to do a job; I had been trained and knew what was expected of me. I secured the scene, getting the injured off to the hospital. I talked to witnesses and took statements. I even had to tell a family the heart-wrenching news of tragedy.

It was a whirlwind of stress, emotion and high energy to get done what was needed. I remember finishing my report and walking down to Central Records to hand in my officer notes, and looking at the clock and seeing it now read 3:00 a.m.

I didn’t think too much about the call after that, until I was driving home later that morning. It dawned on me that even though we are highly trained to do our jobs, we are still human. Not a time goes by that I pass that intersection that I don’t think about the tragedy that I was a part of many years ago.

For an officer to end up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not uncommon. Most people think that PTSD happens when one experiences a single traumatic event, but this is only partially true. PTSD can also be cumulative, when a person with years and years of experiences and countless traumatic events. This is common place in the careers of many emergency services and military personnel.

A sad story surfaced a few months back when a Staff Sargent with the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) in Ontario took his own life. S/Sgt Ian Matthews suicide has brought the whispered subject of police mental health into the light. It’s unfortunate that it has taken somebody’s life to see that the elephant in the room needs to be acknowledged. If you read anything else today, read this article written by a colleague of S/Sgt Matthews.

Police services today teach their officers to be tactically ready to deal with anything the streets throw their way, but what about after the dust settles? What does an officer do after the days, weeks, or years pass and the emotions come flooding back? This training is just as important.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor’s course, which is put on by The Mental Health Commission of Canada. It was great – it helped to prepare me to instruct fellow officers in the MHFA two-day course. I’m very pleased with the Saskatoon Police Service’s forward thinking and getting its officers educated and trained in this often stigmatized and misunderstood area. The simple skills that the MHFA framework teaches are invaluable for frontline personnel. We are not there to diagnose or act as psychologists, but merely to apply mental first aid to those in crisis and hopefully stabilize them until they get the help they need.

Educating front line personnel on how to handle people suffering with mental disorders is a step in the right direction but we have to look at ourselves as officers as well. This will assist in emotionally bulletproofing us for our jobs on the front line, but also in our personal lives. With more training and understanding of mental health issues hopefully this will move us closer to understanding and de- stigmatizing an all too common issue.

Take Care,
Chess

Posted in From The Ground Up (by Cst. Derek Chesney) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Pink?

Post by Cst. Matt Maloney (Cultural Resources Unit)

Pink is just a colour, no different than red, green or blue. But what it has become, is much more than a colour. It’s become a symbol for those who want to stand up and speak out about against bullying and the effect that bullying has.

As members of the Police Service, we regretfully see the ugly side of those effects. It hurts our community, our schools, families and most of all, the individuals. These individuals can do as little as wear the wrong color of shirt on the first day at a new school. That’s when you stand up like Travis Price and David Shepard. They saw the exclusion of a student and took a stand against it. They decided, on that day, not to be bystanders and drew their line in the sand. It was a simple gesture but it took guts, it took passion and it took empathy. They decided to stop thinking and start doing!

In doing so, they empowered not only this youth, but their community, their school and now, people around the world. Every year, over 8 million people worldwide celebrate this movement as the Day of Pink.

The challenge we face is not to make it just for a single day. Remember, pink is just a color but exercising what it stands for is what we need to do every day! Everyone deserves to be respected and we will continue to encourage others to join in the movement to make it an everyday practice.

Day of Pink

Posted in In Our Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment