Three decades of adaptation

Justin
Justin Crann
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MJPS sergeant reflects on long service

Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) Sgt. Drew Waldo remembers one moment of his very first shift like it was yesterday.

MJPS Sgt. Drew Waldo (right), with wife Julia, poses for a photo after receiving his 30 year service pin from Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield Wednesday. Waldo was one of four officers who, along with four members of the fire department, received pins.

It was the night of Nov. 22, 1981. He was partnered with a senior constable. He didn't have any training, and by his own account, he had "very few interpersonal skills."

The pair were cruising in an "old, blue GMC van," pulling up near the front entrance of the Royal Hotel.

"At that point in time, the Royal was a very rough establishment, particularly in front of it on that street," Waldo explained. "The officer I was with rolled down the window, handed me a four-cell flashlight, and said, 'If that guy sticks his head in the window, whack him.'

"I'm very glad we don't do policing like that today," Waldo added with a slight shake of his head.

On Wednesday, Waldo was recognized with three fellow officers and four members of the Moose Jaw Fire Department for 30 years of service to the Moose Javian public.

MJPS officers Inspector Timothy Arnott, Inspector Brent Mackey and Corporal R. Blair Bucsis were also recognized for three decades of service.

Capt. Rodney Stapleton, Capt. Bryan VanTassel, Lt. Michael Gorgichuk and Lt. Laurie Evans were recognized for their long service with the fire department.

While his wife, Julia, watched from the gallery in Moose Jaw's city council chambers, Waldo was presented with a service pin by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Vaughn Solomon Schofield.

Waldo was sporting a smile a mile wide when his photo was taken with Schofield — and an even wider one when he posed for a photo with Julia.

"It's really an honour," he told the Times-Herald when the pictures were done. "I'm very privileged to get (the pin)."

After recounting the story of that first night on the job, Waldo reflected on the changes that have occurred within policing over his 30 years with the MJPS.

"There have been tremendous shifts in attitude, knowledge, training, and community involvement," he said. "At one time, you would be hired because you dragged your knuckles on the ground and could clean a room out in a brawl. It isn't like that anymore.

"Today's officers are intelligent and they're educated," added Waldo. "Education doesn't stop in policing … (and) being a police officer has really changed."

In modern policing, transparency, integrity and tactical effectiveness have all come to the fore as vital concepts.

"They've become problem solvers and peacemakers," Julia added, smiling at her husband. "They're community builders."

"Police are the people, and the people are the police," added Waldo. "We are only as good as the people we serve. I'm grateful that we serve good people."

Find Justin Crann on Twitter.

Organizations: Royal Hotel, Moose Jaw Fire Department, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

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