Saskatoon’s particular constables turn out to be everlasting a part of the police service – Saskatoon

The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) alternative response unit is now a permanent part of the police service after a year-long pilot program came to an end.

The Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners made the decision during its Thursday meeting.

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Special constables were deployed in parts of the city as part of the program to create a better collaboration with residents and free up regular police officers from administrative and lower-intensity tasks.

The SPS said these alternative response officers (AROs) focused on three areas: direct service delivery, investigative support, and enforcement support.

The report in the public agenda said in 240 days, the special constables took on 6,700 lower intensity calls, administrative events and outreach interactions.

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These included outreach calls, transports regarding public safety or youth detox, life-saves using NARCAN, mental health calls and other duties including file assistance, crime scene guarding and traffic escorts.

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The SPS said they’ve had at least six full time equivalent special constables on staff through the pilot project, but added with the expectation of some AROs being selected for regular police training they expect some overlap, noting that May-July could see ten AROs on staff.

It was noted in the report that AROs were the first frontline staff to receive special training on things like gender-based violence, homelessness issues particular with youth, LGBTQ2 individuals and women, and an enhanced truth and reconciliation presentation.

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