By Greg Price
On the heels of winning a provincial Community Justice Award for its Auxiliary Policing Program, Taber Police Service is in the process of training its two latest hired constables.
The auxiliary constables in Eric Neufeld and Amanda Flaherty have done some ground fighting knife defence and pepper spray training.
“They have to submit a disclosure report. We do reference checks, look at their employment history, we look at who their friends are and who they associate with,” said David Dube, a co-ordinator of the Taber Police Service Auxiliary Policing Program. “They do the PARE, which is the old RCMP model, it’s a physical abilities requirement, running through an obstacle course and have to do it in a certain amount of time to qualify as a community peace officer.”
Auxiliary constables are appointed by the solicitor general in Alberta to be peace officers in the province. Auxiliary constables have to work with a regular constable.
Training for auxiliary constables includes 10 hours of arrest procedures, investigative procedures, traffic stops, etc.
“It’s teaching best practices for each of those situations. And then they spend 20 hours doing control tactics training —learning how to handcuff, learning how to use the baton, how to use pepper spray and ground fighting/knife defence,” said Dube. “These are people in the community that want to be involved in helping their community.”
The pepper spray training involves the trainer who lines up next to the auxiliary constables, where the trainee will do something like say the alphabet or spell their name, where they will eventually be surprised by a pepper spray blast.
“It’s showing how they need to be able to fight through adversity to affect an arrest. We are not going to expose them to the taser or expose them to a less lethal round,” said Dube. “But, they need to be able to know in the event of something bad happening, and we do need to get into a physical altercation with someone, we can fight through it and win. They get exposed to the pepper spray and then the have to control the subject and call for back up.”
The hiring of the two latest constables brings the Taber Police Service up to four auxiliary constables. The program is for anyone in the community who wants to help make a difference in their community, regardless of their work field. Although, it has served as a stepping stone for those with an interest in law enforcement. Dube himself was an auxiliary constable back in 2007, where other Taber Police Service members have gone through as well, including police chief Graham Abela and recently retired long-serving police service member Nicholas Kutanzi.
“It’s cool to see that progression and for those who may be interested in law, it’s a good step to see what the whole job is about,” said Dube.