Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper was sworn in to his new position in February; reflecting back on his first year on the job, he remembers day one like it was yesterday.
“It hasn’t been much longer than yesterday, but I do recall coming into a new organization is kind of confusing and puzzling over the smallest things,” Cooper said.
“Where do you park your car? Where do you get gas? All of these little, weird things you don’t think about take a lot of your time up.”
Luckily for Cooper, he had multiple friends with the Saskatoon Police Service that were able to make their new boss’s transition as seamless as possible.
When Cooper arrived in Saskatoon, he instantly saw crime stats and patterns similar to his previous posting as Prince Albert Police chief.
This time there was one obvious difference.
“What also surprised me was the impact of a growing community,” he said. “When you’re trying to plan for something and the community is changing very rapidly, it makes (planning and policing) a bit of challenge, so that was new for me.”
Looking back on the Police service’s major accomplishments in 2018, Cooper is amazed at the everyday heroics of the job, as opposed to any significant event.
The nice thing about being the chief is that I’m updated twice a day about what’s gone on in the last 12 hours,” he said. “Everyday I’m amazed at the incredible work that goes on.
“Some of those were publicized — officers had saved someone’s life from a burning house, we saved someone from a burning vehicle, we lifted a car off somebody — but there are things that don’t get reported, just common everyday things that are still amazing.”
For instance, Cooper said police delivered Naloxone 13 times in 2018, saving each of those lives from a potentially life-threatening overdose.
“That’s just something that happens everyday and I get to read those stories twice a day and it’s amazing,” Cooper said.
As far as memorable events for the police service, there were few things that grabbed people’s attention more than a viral, lip-synching video.
Taking a page out of FX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Saskatoon police published a five-minute video that featured different officers singing along to the Backstreet Boys hit song I want it that way.
Hundreds of thousands of people watched the video within days. It’s something Cooper never could have imagined.
“We never in our wildest dreams expected that 6.5-million people would view that video,” he said. “Luckily, it was incredibly well-done and I think it showed the human side of policing; that our officers are just members of the community.”
“It was really great for us to show that back to the community, and this is a great way to poke fun at ourselves a little bit.”
While Cooper’s first year as Saskatoon’s top cop has involved a steep learning curve, it’s also taught him a couple things about himself.
“Patience,” he said. “That’s really, really important. And to be calm when things seem like they’re getting a little out of control. We can address whatever concerns arise, although we can never predict them.”