Most of the members at the detachment enjoy the variety of duties we are asked to perform and the changes in pace from day to day that keep everyone on their toes.
People often ask what it’s like, so, here it is.
For many of the members at the detachment, on-call is a way of life. The uniform members are always ready to take calls and our specialized support units provide additional support and are on call for us should we need them after we attend a call for service. If we are not called in to work for a variety of reasons, one of our first duties is to prepare for our shift. This is one of the most important parts of the day. Members will check the police vehicles to make sure nothing was left behind either by our clients including drugs and weapons or by other members like paperwork or coffee cups. Once the vehicle has been checked and looked over we ensure all the equipment on our person is working, accounted for and available. This can range from charges on the batteries of the radios, cell phones, flash lights, tasers and recorders we use. Once the equipment is checked we can “go on the board”. Once we go on the board, our Operational Communications Center (OCC) in Edmonton, Alberta keeps track of us via radio. This is how we are assigned calls and are able to call for help if we need. OCC can be called to do everything from checking plates on vehicles to providing historical content on clients to notifying other police services across the country of our wishes and visa versa.
Once we are on the board the fun starts. Anything the night shift members didn’t get to is looked after by the day shift. This can include releasing/transporting clients, doing paperwork and heading out to a variety of locations. Once we have the previous days’ tasks looked after, we continue with our individual investigations and community involvement initiatives. Often times members will be out in the community/MD to take statements and gather evidence for a particular file. As we have a large detachment area, when someone calls the police for help, we could be right next door or 30 minutes away. Until the call comes in, there is no way to know what it’s going to be or what will be required. Many of the members balance taking new calls for service with existing calls on top of playing floor hockey with kids, doing school visits, training and other community projects.
If members have to arrest someone, we have to be sure that their rights are respected and that a certain process is followed. People under arrest are under the care of the police and, public safety includes those in our custody. Clients in our care are fed, treated for medical concerns and provided opportunities to speak to lawyers before the court determines if they are to be released. If someone is arrested with drugs or firearms, those items needs to be rendered safe, tested and stored until the court process is completed. Sometimes we will have to return the items and other times they are destroyed.
Many of our abilities to seize and arrest come from the Criminal Code which is amended often. What was an offence one year may not be the next or visa versa. One of the duties we perform is education of the public and, in the case of the new impaired driving laws, members perform check stops to inform the public of changes in those laws and afford them opportunities to ask questions on how police in their community will enforce them.
After we go to that collision, play hockey with the kids, make that arrest, and go out on the road, we will do that whole process in reverse before we go home for the day. And that is a day in the life.
-Cpl. Pedro Rodrigues.