From the desk to patrol
Policing the streets of Providence

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Providence (Aug 11/00) - Working with the RCMP is one thing, but working in uniform is another, as Tanya Steinwand found out over the weekend.

"They were coming up to me and (saying) 'Wow, you look good in blues,'" said the novice auxiliary constable

"People were actually saying 'It's good seeing the other side of police,' and being in uniform instead of me sitting behind the desk with paper. It's something different. So far I like it."

Steinwand has been working with the police since February 1998 when she served as a jail guard.

Const. Clare Kines, who was with the Fort Providence detachment at that time, mentioned to her that he was going to apply for funding for an intern through a YWCA program. He encouraged her to consider the job, and she was very interested.

She attended a three-and-a-half week administrative course in Edmonton before assuming her duties. After completing that program, she was hired on part time under public service. She's responsible for answering phones, transcribing, mail, filing, budgeting and supplies.

"And I bring in doughnuts whenever I can," she laughed.

Having worked alongside the RCMP for years, Steinwand said, "Being here that long sort of sparked interest into this auxiliary program."

Last week she was issued her uniform, which has badges identifying her as an auxiliary member of the force. Now others see her as truly working, rather than just being at the detachment, she said with a laugh.

She spent three shifts driving around on patrol until the wee hours of the morning over the weekend but, all in all, it wasn't very busy, she said. There were a few people drunk in public, a drunk driver and a speeding offence, but it was nowhere near as busy as last year, she said.

She still requires courses in self-defence, the use of pepper spray and the proper way to handle the asp (baton).

"I'm looking forward to all that training," she said.

How about the possibility of training at the recruit depot in Regina someday?

"I'd like to go through the steps," Steinwand replied. "If I continue to enjoy what this is about, hopefully I'll get paid for what I'm doing, maybe as a community constable or something like that."

Cpl. Brian Bohlken said auxiliary constables are advantageous, particularly when a detachment is short-staffed. In this case, Steinwand is also helpful because she has lived in Fort Providence for years and knows most of the residents, whereas the three RCMP members are relative newcomers.

"She helps out a lot. She knows the paperwork and that type of thing more so than a regular auxiliary. She can assist with a lot of the paperwork and duties around the office when she's working as an auxiliary well."