Rick Bourassa has been the Moose Jaw Police Service's chief since 2013, but these last couple of years were unlike any other.
Chief Bourassa describes the last two years as 'interesting,' as challenges arose that he never had to think of before the pandemic. He says that when the first public health orders came out the force was 'scrambling' to figure out how to enforce the new rules, as well as keep themselves safe from the virus. Bourassa notes the police force had very few interruptions and staffing issues due to COVID-19.
He highlighted some accomplishments made by the police in the last year.
"We were able to continue working with the Methamphetamine Strategy Committee on a two-pronged approach," says Bourassa. The police force continued to work on enforcement, but the committee brought education and light to the issue of meth. The funding for the committee has wrapped up, but the documentaries and other resources are still available here.
The chief says the force has also worked on expanding its ability to respond to critical situations.
"We did not have the tactical capability, we had to rely on other agencies to give us assistance, and over the years we have had increased numbers of those high-risk situations." He mentions that while the relationship between Moose Jaw's police service and other jurisdictions is great but getting help can sometimes take too long, and in most situations "time is of the essence."
When it comes to challenges, Bourassa mentioned the different protests that came along with the public health orders and restrictions.
"The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and our job is to protect those rights. When it crosses over to when it is no longer peaceful, our job is to make sure everyone is protected."
Homelessness and housing insecurity have been major topics in the city over the past several months, and Bourassa says dealing with a crisis is something the police are trained to do.
"We are very good at assisting those folks at getting them to a safe place," says the chief. He says they will even bring people to the station to keep them warm and safe.
You can listen to Chief Bourassa talk about all that and more in the interview below.