The Citizens' Police Academy wrapped up its third week with a presentation from Constable Josh McNaughton of the Criminal Investigation Section (CIS).
McNaughton explained the Criminal Investigation Section and the cases that they deal with, such as child abuse, drug trafficking, major sexual assaults, homicides, and murders.
Child abuse cases are the most common ones investigated. Many of these cases are a result of excessive discipline, but some go as far as physical or sexual abuse.
"I believe in 2012, there was a Supreme Court hearing that limited what parents can do for discipline. There can't be any correction to the head and you can't use an object," McNaughton remarked. "That was past practice for a lot of people across Canada, but from that point on, it was no longer acceptable."
McNaughton also mentioned that many parents are not aware of this law change. If there is only a minor nature to the excessive discipline, parents are not charged, but their case is used as an education piece that is documented.
Out of every duty he performs, McNaughton said his favourite part of his job is interviewing people and figuring out the truth of a case. A special interview procedure that he discussed was the forensic child interview.
"Naturally kids want to please you and give you the answer that you are looking for," McNaughton commented. "There is a very strict process that we go through in order to try and get a pure version statement. We just want the truth from them."
One topic that McNaughton touched on briefly was gangs in Moose Jaw. Currently, there are no gang strongholds, but some people in the city are affiliated with gangs. Gangs are less of a problem in Moose Jaw, but more prevalent in bigger centres.
Although gangs are not a huge problem, cases of drug trafficking are becoming more common in Moose Jaw all the time.
"There is a significant drug problem in Moose Jaw," McNaughton mentioned. "Methamphetamine has been a big problem recently. Right now, fentanyl has become our biggest issue that we are dealing with right now."
Fentanyl is a painkiller often used by hospitals for medical procedures. McNaughton talked about how fatal fentanyl can be if someone does not have a tolerance to strong painkillers.
"Every officer carries NARCAN on them. If [one of us] came into contact with [fentanyl], [our] coworker would have to shoot it up [our] nose or spray it in [our] nose," McNaughton explained. "If we did come across somebody else who was in distress and it was believed to be because of fentanyl, then we would use those sprays on them as well."
Guns have become more prevalent now than they were ten years ago when McNaughton first started.
"We're not really sure where [the guns] come from but they seem to creep through," McNaughton discussed. "Lots of the guns are from break and enters that happened, whether rural or in town."
One of the hats that McNaughton wears at the police station is being a member of the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit.
"Their primary goal is to investigate child exploitation online and identify those victims," McNaughton mentioned. "It's a pretty intricate and time-consuming place to work, but it is really rewarding and really good work. It's definitely a need in our province, more so than most people think."
McNaughton concluded the presentation by discussing how the Crime Investigation Section goes about solving a crime.
"When a case is complicated or there isn't a lot of information initially, looking at where a video camera was, seeing if someone has a ring camera across the street, utilizing different things that were happening during that time to narrow timeframes, or trying to cultivate a witness that hadn't come forward at the time," McNaughton remarked. "Sometimes you have to dig deeper and think outside the box."
The Citizens' Police Academy will run every Thursday at the Moose Jaw Police Station from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. You can view the schedule below:
May 4 - Victim Services along with service dog Sven, Community and Strategic Services presentation, Drones
May 11 - Tactical Response Team presentation, firearms