Jul 27

Interview: Beat Police in downtown Calgary

by Guest Contributor · 4 comments

Post image for Interview: Beat Police in downtown Calgary

Since the end of May 2009 the beat cops have become a fixture in downtown Calgary. And a very welcome fixture at that. Recently Torie and I got the chance to sit down with Constable Sinclair and Constable Karimwabo to talk to them about some of their experiences as beat cops in the downtown core.

We decided to start things off on a light note and asked them for the funniest story they could think of. They laughed and told us that what they find funny is sometimes pretty different from what everybody else finds humorous. But they wracked their brains and came up with a good one. Allow me to set the scene: three weeks into the job, morning, they approach a man in an alleyway. This man was known to them, and they had talked to him on other occasions. Well, apparently this morning he didn’t feel like talking and instead flung something that was in his hand at them. Thankfully the man did not have great aim and the object sailed past them. But they did get a good look at the object. “Did he just throw poo at us?”

It’s not all fun and games for the beat cops, but the difference that they are seeing downtown makes it all worth it, they tell us. They talked about when they started on the job they couldn’t go two blocks without running into somebody that they needed to deal with. Now though? Sometimes they will go an entire day without seeing anybody. And the benefit of the beat cops is echoed by many of the people the beat cops talk to on a day-to-day basis. They will usually get 4-5 compliments per day, with people saying things like “downtown has never looked better” and “things have improved so much since you started working here.” It’s pretty obvious that downtown loves its beat cops.

But the beat cops say that what they’re doing isn’t just a one-way street. They’re learning a lot by working downtown as well. Working with the public like they do gives them the chance to hone their best weapon, their communication skills. They think that every police officer should have to do this job, because of what it teaches them about dealing with people.

And for those of you wondering, they get people asking all the time to wear the hat. And unfortunately the answer is almost guaranteed to be “no.” Sorry to kill your dream.

Photo Credit: Torie Peterson

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