Recognized as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Saskatoon Police Service was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2017):
- Saskatoon Police Service's head office features a variety of onsite amenities including an employee lounge and a fully-equipped fitness facility that offers free memberships, exercise equipment, a basketball court, a sauna, and instructor-led fitness classes such as spinning and kick-boxing
- Saskatoon Police Service supports its new moms with maternity leave top-up payments (to 95% of salary for 17 weeks) as well as the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Saskatoon Police Service manages a police preparation program for Aboriginal students interested in a career with the police service and offers academic scholarships for children of employees who pursue post-secondary studies (to $1,000 per child)
Saskatoon Police Service mirrors its community
Staff Sergeant Cameron McBride of the Saskatoon Police Service has a calm demeanor and a methodical approach to his work. Those qualities made him a perfect candidate for the Service's explosive disposal unit. In 2003, he went on a five-week training program at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa to become certified as an explosive disposal technician.
McBride, 47, never had to dismantle a bomb on the job -- "We train hard for things we hope we never have to do," he says -- but he did need to carry out post-blast investigations, including one harrowing case where an accidental explosion severely injured a young person.
In 20 years with the Service, McBride says he has had "many small careers within the big career." He started on patrol, then moved into traffic, followed by seven years as a crime scene investigator. Since May 2016, when he was promoted to Staff Sergeant, he has worked in the training section, where he tests the 474 sworn officers for their annual re-certification in proper use of their weapons and defensive tactics.
Although McBride was hired by the Service when he graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.A. in psychology, relatively few recruits had a university education in those days. Now, however, the Service looks for applicants with post-secondary degrees, says Mark Chatterbok, Deputy Chief of Operations.
Once selected, recruits are sent for 20 weeks to the Saskatchewan Police College in Regina, where they receive classroom instruction in areas such as criminal law, officer safety, self-defence, report writing and cross-cultural training. "They then return to the Service for 24 weeks of field training under the guidance of one or more experienced officers," says Chatterbok.
Officers are not only better edu-cated than when McBride started out, they also have more diversity. Since 2002, when the Saskatoon Police Service approved its initial Employment Equity Plan, the number of female members has increased from 80 to 185, visible minorities from seven to 26, indigenous members from 30 to 62, and persons with disabilities from 12 to 27. In 2016, more than 53 per cent of employees were equity-group members.
Chatterbok says, "It's a positive thing for the police service and for the community to have so many of our sworn officers reflecting the culture of the community in which they serve -- not only having them within the organization but actually seeing them out in the community wearing the uniform."