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.
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.
One 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