Policing in Sask. during COVID-19: House parties, being spit on and more

Regina police are seeing differences in the way they're doing their work since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Evan Bray, Regina's chief of police, said they are trying to focus on high-priority emergency situations and looking at ways to lessen person-to-person contact, like taking reports online or over the phone. 

"It definitely looks different. There are less people on the road, people are staying in their house and in their yard," he said.

Bray gave an example of police needing to speak to some neighbours Sunday for an investigation. They were happy to talk, but wanted to do it through the door instead of inviting officers into their home.

Bray said he was pleased with the precautions those people took.

So, people are adhering to the guidelines... for the most part. Police have also responded to some noisy house parties or other gatherings, albeit not very many, according to Bray. 

Bray said the officers involved conveyed the seriousness to the party-goers.

"This is not something that we're doing to try and stop the fun you were having. This is trying to keep you healthy and alive," he said. 

In terms of enforcing business closures that are now law, Bray said the conversations so far have been great. Regina police are doing outreach to make sure businesses understand what the laws are now. He said they've seen 100 per cent compliance.

Spitting

Meanwhile, the Saskatoon Police Service shared a post on their Facebook page detailing an incident where someone said they had COVID-19 and spit on an officer. 

"We are not the only organization out there that faces these incidents of people exploiting the current environment and contributing to fear," the post reads.

"Whether it's as egregious as what our member experienced last night, or someone faking flu-like symptoms as a joke, this is not okay."

Bray said incidents like this happen in Regina too, and not just with COVID-19. If this happens, officers are tested. In the few incidents like this sprouting up in the past few days, no officers have tested positive.

"We take those matters very seriously. We have to do what we can to protect our officers," he said.

RCMP getting calls

The Saskatchewan RCMP said it has been getting calls regarding possible violations of the public health orders issued by the province. In a release, the RCMP said it is working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to investigate these calls.

The police service said it has been working closely with health authorities to investigate possible violations of the order which, among other things, limits the size of gatherings and closes bars and schools.

So far there have been no charges, fines or arrests. Mounties are reassuring people that they're maintaining their commitment to service and keeping communities safe.