ESTEVAN - Several members of the Estevan Bruins have received an introduction to the world of policing through a police academy program offered by the Estevan Police Service.
Const. Braden Lonsberry with the EPS said he has been trying to get this going for a few years, but it didn’t work out. He approached the EPS administration earlier this year, and they gave him the green light.
Bruins head coach and general manager Jason Tatarnic also gave his blessing.
Lonsberry said it’s based on a program offered in Moose Jaw between that city’s police force and the Western Hockey League’s Warriors team.
“Usually there are six or seven players, but it’s the same players each session that come. We looked at the 20-year-olds and the leadership group, and then go from there,” said Lonsberry.
The first session was an introduction, a tour of the building and a chance for the players and the officers to become acquainted.
Subsequent get-togethers included a drug and alcohol impaired driving presentation, courtesy of an officer who is a drug recognition expert and a traffic officer.
“They went through what the roadside screening devices do, how they operate, and what some of the laws and procedures are like,” said Lonsberry.
Players also went through a field sobriety test, and it was really well received. The athletes were quite interested, Lonsberry said, and there were a lot of good questions.
The criminal investigation-drug intelligence unit and the joint tactical support team went through what each division is responsible for, the types of investigation and how those investigations take place.
Support team members introduced players to the tools that they have, such as breaching tools, carbines, Glock pistols and their 40-millimetre launcher, which is used for less-lethal measures such as rubber bullets and tear gas.
“They got to feel what they felt like and see them up close and personal,” said Lonsberry.
Players have also learned about conductive energy weapons, such as Tasers, and participated in a canine unit presentation.
“Each of the players was able to shoot a training cartridge and see what it’s like to actually shoot the Taser and see what happens when it’s shot,” said Lonsberry.
The canine demonstration, with police dog Max and his handler Const. Paul Chabot, was a hit.
“Several players were able to put on the bite suit, take a bite and experience what that’s like from Max,” said Lonsberry.
The final session in March will be a firearms class with firearms instructors and some of their joint tactical team members.
“They’ll go through some safe handling procedures and our safe range concepts, that type of thing, and then the players will actually be able to, along with our firearms instructors and team members, to do some live firing down at our range. I’m assuming that that will be another exciting and well received session for them,” Lonsberry said.
If a player has an interest in policing, Lonsberry said this might sway them one way or the other. A couple have policing might be of interest to them down the road, but right now they’re focused on hockey.
“It’s really important for us to get our brand out there, our name out there, with the people in the community, and what better way than … with a bunch of the Bruins here, and get them in and see what we do on a day to day basis,” said Lonsberry.
Players have been very engaged, Lonsberry said, and they’ve had a lot of great questions.
“I don’t think you could ask for a better bunch of players or young men than these ones,” said Lonsberry.