On Sunday, Police Officers from across the country will gather at different memorials to honour those that have fallen in the line of duty. Those that have tragically given their lives were mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends and colleagues. They had interests and hobbies, passions… lives outside of the uniform they wore on a daily basis.
In anticipation of the upcoming Saskatchewan Police & Peace Officer Memorial, we wanted to show you a few of those men and women, and who they are #BehindTheBadge. Throughout the week, we are featuring officers who have sworn to protect our community and hope you will learn a little bit more about them as human beings, not just Police Officers.
Inspector Lisa Lafreniere has been with the Saskatoon Police Service for 29 years. She is the Inspector in charge of the Northwest Division, but she got her start on the east side of the city. The Saskatoon native grew up in the South Nutana and Eastview neighbourhoods. After graduating from Holy Cross High School, she thought she’d like to be a travel agent. But that was a very short lived dream, before she realized policing was her calling. This was made clear to her by her father, a 36 year member of the SPS. She describes him as the “epitome of neighbourhood policing.” Everybody knew him and they all asked him for advice or help, which he was more than willing to provide. She knew policing would be a good fit because she grew up around officers; she had an uncle in the RCMP, a cousin in the Ottawa Police Service, a brother in corrections. Her mother wasn’t an officer but a nurse who also worked shift work. Lisa had a pretty good idea of what life would look like if she followed the family tradition. “I knew that there would be some holidays where my folks might not be at home because of the job. But you adapt, you deal with the situation
and it just becomes a way of life.” A life she was excited about. “It’s an honorable profession, and I count myself lucky to be able to put on my uniform every day and serve the citizens of Saskatoon. My dad gave me the gift of wanting to make a difference like he did.”
Lisa didn’t start out as an officer. At the young age of 22, she joined the service in Administration, then Central Records as a CPIC operator and File Clerk. For seven years she was a Special Constable and the calm voice on the phone in Communications as she answered emergency calls. After that, she became a regular Constable and worked her way up to the title of ‘Inspector’ she holds today. “I’ve had an opportunity to do different jobs within the police service and in every one I learned a new skill-set and have enjoyed every single unit. I’ve enjoyed my entire career. I truly believe it’s a calling.”
One of Lisa’s favourite and most rewarding aspects of her career was working with at-risk youth. She has a lot of “passion and affinity for them.” The most challenging part of the job; “I think is in Patrol when you’re the first responder, you respond to calls for service that involve a lot of tragedy and dealing with that first hand, for me, was the most challenging. Some of my most poignant memories are from my role in Patrol and going to some of those calls.” But resiliency is key, both physically and mentally. Lisa likes to set aside time to take care of herself whether it be going to the gym or catching up with close friends outside of policing. Those external relationships are important in keeping her grounded.
Although being a travel agent wasn’t in her cards, Lisa still has a passion for discovering new destinations. She’s traveled to the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Mexico, Belize, Cuba and all across North America.
A couple of her secrets; she’s an introvert and loves to write. A memoir book is not out of the question for Inspector Lisa Lafreniere’s future.