Const. Nancy Saggar never imagined she’d end up working in the middle of a pandemic, but she’s seen the West Shore RCMP detachment adapt as quickly as they can.
“I never myself have had any doubt that I would be out of a job and I feel for a lot of Canadians that live in that uncertainty,” said Saggar, referring to the beginning of the lockdown. “Policing in uncertain times is hard to plan for, but you have to anticipate it.”
If you’ve spotted more police officers roaming the West Shore, that’s because it’s all intentional. With not enough space to socially distance in the detachment and a computer in each cruiser, more officers are working out from their new mobile offices.
Each vehicle is equipped with a disinfectant defogger and ionizer machine to protect the health of each new officer on shift. Similarly, officers who have family members that are immunocompromised are able to relocate to a separate office or work from home if absolutely necessary.
“It’s the safest way to function in our detachment,” said Saggar.
|Lego, a seven-month-old mixed lab, has been spending two days a week at the West Shore RCMP. He helps lighten the mood for officers after a stressful shift. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)|
When asked about the best way she deals with the stress of working during COVID-19, Saggar briefly leaves her office to call over a ‘new friend’.
Moments later, a black mixed lab walks through the door. He jumps up with excitement, his tail wagging and police badge placed on his collar. His name is Lego and he belongs to Const. Elyse Patten.
The seven-month-old pup drops by at least twice a week since January and can be found sniffing his way around the detachment’s top floor, popping his head into a random office every now and then.
“I can’t help but smile when Lego comes down the hallway and stops by the door,” said Saggar. “It’s all about investing in our mental health and well-being and that starts with the little things that can boost your mood.”
Saggar has offered her free time to babysit her colleagues’ kids whenever it might get too stressful for them.
Though they aren’t hosting barbecues, Saggar tries to recapture social time with frequent FaceTimes, calls and texts to her coworkers to make sure they are doing alright. Notably, the West Shore detachment is still hiring amid the pandemic, but group training in Saskatchewan has been delayed for the time being.
As far as it goes for cleanliness, though they don’t wear masks, they’re constantly cleaning high touch surfaces throughout the detachment and try to avoid too much contact with front-line officers.
“It’s our job to thrive when crisis hits,” said Saggar. “You’re always worried about who you will encounter, but you have to remember that you have a duty and obligation to keep the public safe.”