Recognized as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 12, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Saskatoon Police Service was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2019):
- Along with attending career fairs at local schools, Saskatoon Police Service reaches out to the next generation through a summer employment program for Aboriginal students interested in policing and works with a number of community agencies to connect with youth who are new to Canada
- Saskatoon Police Service supports new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 95% of salary for 17 weeks) and offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence -- employees with older children can apply for post-secondary academic scholarships, to $1,000 per child
Saskatoon Police Service is a leader in innovation
At first glance, the paths that led Mitch Yuzdepski and Cy Bray to the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) appear almost identical.
Both of them knew as teenagers that they wanted to become police officers. Both applied for police jobs when they finished high school, and both were turned down.
"As a naïve 18-year-old kid growing up in Saskatoon," says Yuzdepski, "I thought, I'm a good person, I have a good character. They should hire me. But I've discovered since then that it takes more than good character to be a good policeman."
Yuzdepski went on to complete a bachelor's degree in sociology at the University of Saskatchewan before he landed a job with the SPS in 1987. Over the next 31 years, he worked in every department, from detention to the canine unit to homicide, and obtained a business administration certificate from the university as well.
With his experience and qualifications, Yuzdepski became deputy chief in the fall of 2018. By then he'd learned that the SPS thrives on training, imagination, innovation and initiative, as well as education. In fact, these qualities attracted Cy Bray to the SPS. "I'd heard many positive things about the SPS," he says. "They treat employees well, they're open to innovation and they encourage initiative."
Bray graduated in 2014 with a bachelor's degree from the University of Regina, where he was an academic all-Canadian as a member of the track-and-field team, and spent 20 weeks at the Saskatchewan Police College studying every aspect of policing, from ethics and wellness to crisis intervention, before he joined the SPS. From the day he started, Bray experienced first-hand the impact of the SPS's innovative approach to policing.
By then, Yuzdepski had spearheaded the creation of the Police and Crisis Team (PACT), which pairs a police officer with a mental health professional to help direct individuals with mental health or addiction issues to appropriate services. The initiative ranks among the most innovative in the country.
"I'd say I deal with mental-health situations three times a shift," says Bray, who spends four days on and four days off duty.
More recent SPS initiatives include Exxplore Emergency Services, a one-day event organized by SPS and the city's fire department to attract women to both services.
"We try to attract people who represent the community," says Yuzdepski. "We don't want everyone to be the same. We want people with different backgrounds and different experiences. It makes us a better service."