The following stories are purposely vague to protect all people involved.
I’m a second year member of the Saskatoon Police Service and worked my first Halloween Night shift. I’d heard rumors about Halloween night being extremely busy in the past and was looking forward to the experience. We attended numerous calls throughout the night, but I thought I would share the three most memorable of my first Halloween night shift.
The night started off with Parade being rushed because a stabbing had just occurred and we were needed on the street ASAP because it’s going to be “one of those nights.” To set the scene it was already completely dark out with a light drizzling rain when we started our shift. My partner and I got into our patrol car to see that the queue was full of calls waiting to be dealt with.
We were immediately dispatched to deal with an intoxicated person who may have started celebrating Halloween earlier than most. We arrived on scene only to find out that it was an elderly male who had drank to the point of alcohol-induced paralysis. He needed our help because he had nowhere to go and no one to take care of him. According to our history with the man, he’s been struggling with substance abuse for many years. Today was no different. According to him, he started drinking as soon as he woke up early this morning at the BDU (brief detox unit) and spent the day wandering around, drinking whatever he could get his hands on. He was kind and polite to us as he knew we were only there to help him. We escorted him to the PC (police cruiser) with help from a friendly passerby and gave him a ride back to the BDU where he will have a warm bed and medical staff to care for him for the night. As we parted ways I told him to have a happy Halloween, at which point I realized that he was unaware that today was even Halloween.
We were dispatched to two other intoxicated persons calls after this, both with similar circumstances.
At approximately 9:00 p.m. something unexpected happened – it was quiet! There were no more calls left in the queue and the streets appeared to be eerily empty. My partner and I joked about this being the calm before the storm as we continued to patrol our district. For almost an hour it stayed quiet until we were called to a domestic dispute. Here we go.
When we arrived, the yelling ceased but the after effects were obvious. There were two small children, a young boy and a young girl, who were both clutching their grandmother’s side with a look of fear. It was obvious they both had been crying. The Halloween face paint from the boys’ costume had been smeared under his red eyes. The little girl’s costume didn’t require face paint but her red eyed stare at the ground made it just as obvious. The argument stemmed from the father, who had relapsed on his drug treatment program, didn’t want grandma to take his kids away. He told me that his drug of choice was crack cocaine and that he had been clean for six months prior to tonight. He blamed the holiday for his relapse and said, “I just wanted to celebrate.” Grandma had heard that he was using again and attempted to remove the kids for their safety which caused the heated argument.
We split up the two parties and calmed everyone down before calling Mobile Crisis to the scene. Our job at that point was to keep the peace until their arrival. Trying to make conversation in an atmosphere of anger and fear was probably the toughest part. The father and the grandmother were still too upset for small talk so I talked to the kids. The highlight of my night came when the little boy told me that he wasn’t scared anymore because we were there and gave me a high five as hard as his little arm could muster.
Mobile Crisis arrived a short time later and decided it was best that they go with grandma for the night. The kids packed up an overnight bag, sneaking some hard-earned Halloween candy in their pockets and left with grandma.
When we got back to the PC we realized that “the wheels have fallen off,” which in police speak means that the queue was now again full of calls needing to be dealt with. “Dispatch, send us the next call!”
The next notable call was a disturbance. The call indicated that a teenage girl needed to be removed as she had been kicked out of a party for starting fights and was now kicking the door to get back in. We arrived and did not find anyone outside, however we did see there were boot prints on the door. We knocked and the girl answered. She evidently had a very serious problem of her own; she had been stabbed in the stomach. We immediately called MD Ambulance to the scene and attempted to find out what happened. No one in the house could/would tell us what happened and even the victim was being uncooperative. She was more worried about bragging about her new scar than bringing to justice the person that stabbed her. Surviving the wound would give her street credit I suppose, and she wanted to seem tough. It wasn’t until I went to the hospital with the victim to attempt to question her a second time that I saw a glimmer of an innocent and scared young girl. Now that no one was around to impress, she let her guard down and began to cry. She phoned her mom and told her that she was scared she was going to die and wanted her mom to come to the hospital.
In summary, Halloween night wasn’t what I expected. I would describe it as a slightly higher rate of more of the same issues as any other night working as a front line police officer in Saskatoon. All you can do is as much as you can in a limited amount time going from call to call.
Thanks for reading and I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween,
An anonymous street cop