Last week's police shooting in Estevan has rattled Saskatchewan's policing community.
A member of the Estevan Police Service was airlifted to Regina General Hospital after being shot during an altercation with a homicide suspect at the Estevan police station last Wednesday.
At last update, the officer was said to be in stable condition.
The suspect, 19-year-old Justice Guillas, was shot by a second officer during the altercation and died later that day in hospital.
Karie Ann Guillas, 46, died in hospital Wednesday morning after suffering upper body injuries, leading to her son's arrest.
Moose Jaw Police Association President Taylor Elder says any time a fellow officer is injured or killed in the line of duty, it impacts the entire policing community.
"The first thing we think of is who the person is, and more likely than not, there's a connection to Moose Jaw. When you take another look at it, and you look at policing in general, there's an inherent risk in our job and we know that when we sign up. We take our oath and we promise to put ourselves in danger to help protect the public and the citizens in our community. The biggest thing we do is take a step back and we look at our policies and procedures that are in place and think, how can we prevent something like this from happening again?"
S/Sgt. Elder, who is in charge of Moose Jaw's Community and Strategic Services unit, noted that he reached out to the Estevan Police Service to offer support immediately following the incident.
"If anything needs to be done, we're there for those members," he remarked. "Weyburn stepped up huge for Estevan and they were helping police the city during the time when Estevan was making sure everyone was okay and dealing with those issues. It is a small policing family in Saskatchewan and 100 per cent we reach out right away."
Elder says mental health support is also key following any type of major police incident.
"Usually right after a situation, we would have a critical incident debrief where we get together and we have members who are trained on leading these debriefs and make sure that the industry standard for what's best after dealing with a traumatic incident is followed. Ongoing support is huge. We have a very supportive administrative team right now and there's a whole bunch of different programs that we have available to our members and our members' families too."
As a police officer, Elder says one of the benefits of the job is that there are never two days that are the same, adding officers need to be ready for action on a moment's notice.
"Ninety per cent of our job is day-to-day operations and sometimes even borderline boring but you get those few occurrences where you have to act and take control of a situation to prevent injury to yourself or somebody else and that's the people that we look to hire, are the ones that thrive and do well in those situations. There's a lot of downtime in this job and sometimes it's not as exciting as we sign up for."
One way that police service members stay sharp is through constant training to make sure they have the tools and tactics to deal with any scenario. As an example, the Moose Jaw Police Service is currently undergoing block training for all members to focus on active shooter scenarios.
"You hear the old saying, 'you rise to the occasion', that's not true," added Elder. "You fall back to your training and you go back to what you're trained for and that's why we look at making sure our officers are trained and making sure they're equipped to deal with these emergency situations."
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