This side of the law
Officer patrols streets to keep the peace
Fort Simpson ( May 19/00) - The Drum joined RCMP Const. Charles Quartey for the 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m. portion of his Friday night shift in Fort Simpson to gain insight into policing.
Most of the night was spent on patrol in a Suburban. Const. Doug Standing was also working that evening. This week marks Police Week.
The shift, which began at 6 p.m. for Quartey, is relatively quiet early on. He waves to many residents as he drives by.
"One thing about policing in Fort Simpson is you get to know everybody," he says.
10:49 p.m. -- Near the arbor, Quartey pulls over a vehicle with a burnt-out headlight. The driver claimed the light quit working on his way into town. Quartey checked his licence and registration and then gave him a verbal warning to have it repaired.
10:54 p.m. -- A call comes in regarding a drunken individual at Albert Faille apartments. When Quartey pulls up to the building the person in question has passed out on the front steps. He helps the individual into the Suburban. He explains that the level of intoxication dictates whether the person will be put in jail for their own safety or whether he or she can be taken home. In this case, the individual is deemed fit enough to be transported home. After leaving the person in the care of some relatives, Quartey is disgusted to discover urine in the back of the Suburban.
11:29 p.m. -- Return to the detachment to wash out the Suburban.
11:42 p.m. -- Quartey pulls over a vehicle that appears may have more passengers than seat-belts. No violations are found.
However, the opportunity arises to issue a subpoena to one of the people in the vehicle. RCMP members routinely carry court summonses with them to serve during patrols.
11:55 p.m. -- The dispatcher in Yellowknife radios that a call was received of a man suffering from chest pains, and an ambulance could not be reached. Quartey suggests another emergency number but the dispatcher said all lines are tied up at Yellowknife headquarters and suggests Quartey respond to the call.
The man in question turns out to be intoxicated. He is escorted to the Fort Simpson Health Centre for a check-up. He is shortly thereafter taken to RCMP cells as he is from out of town and has nowhere else to stay.
Quartey ensures the man isn't carrying anything dangerous or illegal. He then fills out a "prisoner report" while Const. Standing makes several phone calls to find a civilian guard for the night. Standing then performs a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) check by computer. The results reveal whether a person has outstanding arrest warrants, is violating a probation order or has a criminal record.
Quartey spends nearly half-an-hour contacting a witness for an upcoming trial and filling out paperwork from a previous call during the evening. He makes note of the complainant, the accused, the location, the time of the incident and other particular details.
1:23 a.m. -- The dispatcher notifies Quartey of a fight at a local bar. When he arrives, Const. Standing is already on the scene, escorting the parties out of the building. They are questioned and released.
A table was broken during the altercation. One party may file charges. The RCMP will return to the bar the next day to get statements from staff.
No further calls come in prior to 3:30 a.m. Quartey said the shift was representative of a typical Friday night. Much of his job, he noted, involves dealing with the public in many different situations. It's interesting and challenging at times, he said.
"I enjoy the job, yeah," he said before returning to the detachment to complete his paperwork and leaving for home at 4 a.m.