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

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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!

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Tour of the new HQ

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


 

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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

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In Memory of Diego

The SPS is mourning the loss of one of its police service dogs.

On March 14, 2014, Diego, a seven and a half year old German Shepherd, passed away following a short bout with cancer. He had been with the SPS for five years.

Diego was a highly trained and accomplished PSD. He was the only SPS canine with explosive detection abilities and as such was sent to Regina to sniff out Mosaic Stadium prior to the Grey Cup last year.

While he was very successful, Cst. Lalonde remembers Diego’s first ‘catch’ – if you can call it that. PSDs are trained for protection and apprehension. However, when Diego tracked down his first suspect, he instead gave him a dog kiss instead of using the usual apprehension tactics.

He eventually got the hang of it and during his tenure with the SPS, Diego and Cst. Lalonde played a part in nabbing nearly 150 bad guys. That doesn’t include the hundreds of other tracks they did in search of people or in the collection of evidence.

Life with the SPS wasn’t always all work and no play. Cst. Lalonde and Diego visited many organizations and schools. One such event was the K9 Cops for Kids Christmas Campaign in 2012. Diego’s demeanor and floppy ear brought smiles to the faces of the children and their families that would be spending their Christmas in the hospital.

Diego will be missed by Cst. Lalonde and his family, as well as the entire Saskatoon Police Service.

PSD Diego

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Long-time SPS Volunteer to be Honoured

It is said that Saskatchewan is known for volunteer spirit and Ms. Doreen Brown embodies that spirit having lived a life of service to her community. She had a long career at St. Paul’s Hospital, touching many lives in the process.

Doreen (left) with SPS Volunteers at the 2012 Exhibition Parade.

Doreen (left) with SPS Volunteers at the 2012 Exhibition Parade.

Since 2001, Doreen Brown has volunteered as the Coordinator for the SPS Volunteer Program. She organizes, recruits and leads volunteers to represent our Service at public events and conferences. She makes a special effort to get to know each volunteer, meeting with them once they express interest, and making sure they are as committed as she has been in representing the SPS. Ms. Brown has limitless energy and patience in coordinating people from a variety of backgrounds and ensures that each event is well staffed and supported.

The annual Rotary Badge, Shield and Star Recognition Dinner is being held on April 10 and this year the SPS will be honouring Ms. Brown with the Badge Award, a special citizen recognition.

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Keynote speakers at the dinner include retired SPS Sgt. Ernie Louttit and singer-songwriter, Donny Parenteau.

Proceeds from the dinner enable the Rotary Club of Saskatoon to continue to support and grow the Rotary Restorative Action Program, a unique and successful restorative justice program currently operating in Mount Royal, Bedford Road, E.D. Feehan, Bethlehem, Bishop James Mahoney, Tommy Douglas and Walter Murray collegiates.

Tickets are $125 each or $1,000 for a table of 8. You can purchase your tickets or table here.

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Question from Twitter – Splashing a Pedestrian

Splashing Pedestrian

Warm weather + Melting snow + Backed-up storm drains = Big puddles.

As a pedestrian, the last thing you want is to be splashed by a passing motorist while on your commute. But fear not, you’re entitled to feel more than just anger and frustration.

Under the Traffic Bylaw, motorists can be fined for splashing a pedestrian using a sidewalk or crosswalk.

If you’ve taken an unwanted (or unwarranted) bath, here are some things you should make note of in order to file a successful police report:

  • License Plate – the starting point for the investigation
  • Vehicle Description – need to verify it matches the license plate you provided
  • Driver Description – Male, female, race, etc. (because it might not have been the registered owner driving)
  • Location, time of day and description of incident

Once you’ve made note of as many details as you can, you are able to report it by attending to Police HQ or calling our non-emergency line (306-975-8300) to make arrangements for an officer to come and take a report.

If we are able to write a ticket, we are writing it based primarily on the information you have provided. If the suspect denies responsibility, it could go to court and you would be required to attend as a victim/witness, similar to reporting traffic violations.

While we can’t guarantee every report will result in the writing of a ticket, we are committed to investigating it.

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Special Events Policing

Throughout the year, hundreds of events take place in Saskatoon that make the city a wonderful place to live. Whenever people gather in public spaces, it becomes the responsibility of the Saskatoon Police Service to ensure everyone can safely enjoy themselves. Often, multiple police officers are required for this, and costs can add up.

The Saskatoon Police Service provides contract policing services (known as special duty) to organizers of special events and other organizations that require policing services that are not funded by the SPS.

Many of the police officers that you may encounter at some of our city’s festivals or other large events are actually funded by the event organizers. As a civic agency, we strive to be fiscally responsible. Providing special duty policing services allows us to provide policing at large scale events, making our citizens feel safe while attending them without placing an excessive burden on taxpayers.

The SPS works with the City of Saskatoon and various other government agencies to determine the level of policing required for specific events.

In addition to special events, special duty police are often contracted for activities such as the escort of oversized load moves through the city, parades, roadway events, civic celebrations, sporting events, traffic control and crowd management. They can be a one time, annual or infrequent activity that take place within facilities or on roadways in the City.

The police officers who staff these positions are not drawn from our on-duty resources. They remain under the command of the SPS and will not perform duties that are not usually performed by police officers.

To find out more about the process for hiring special duty police, visit our website.

To request special events policing, fill out the form here.

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Social Media Savvy PO’s

As Facebook turns 10-years-old, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on how social media affects our daily lives. Originally more of a novelty, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives, including for those of us in law enforcement.

I was recently approached by the our Public Affairs department and asked if I’d be interested in being one of two officers to tweet out from my very own work Twitter account. The Saskatoon Police Service has been on Twitter (@SaskatoonPolice) and Facebook for a few years now. Kelsie Fraser, our social media specialist, has brilliantly managed both those mediums into successful and innovative conduits of communication with the people we serve. More recently, we’ve added Instagram and YouTube to our social media repertoire.

I went live on Twitter on January 31st. Cst. Derek Chesney (@SPSDerekChesney), one of our downtown beat officers, beat me to it by a couple of days. I was thrilled at how quickly people took to the concept. I believe there is a real willingness amongst our citizens to better understand what their police officers do. From my perspective, I think the more people who understand the complexities of my job, the easier it becomes.

Social media has already assisted with investigations and gives us, as a police service, a means of communicating directly and quickly with the community.

I’ll do my best to share various aspects of the job a patrol sergeant does, while also highlighting the remarkable work our front line constables do. I look forward to interaction with our community followers and am always willing to answer questions.

You can find me on Twitter at @SPSPatBarbarDon’t be afraid to say hello!

Sergeant Patrick Barbar

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