Saskatoon police say they are seeing more calls requiring the assistance of the Tactical Support Unit (TSU).
The media was invited to a TSU training exercise on Tuesday afternoon where Sgt. Ken Kane explained that he’s seen more and more of the type of high-risk situations the team helps resolve.
“I’ve been on the team 15 years and I’ve seen a steady increase over the years in the need for us to be out there. With, I think, the growth of the city, with the drug trade and the good economy– I think it’s led to more violence in the city,” he said.
Kane said that although the TSU is going out more and more, it remains a squad composed primarily of volunteers from the regular patrol division. TSU officers serve mainly in their regular uniforms, gearing up when they get the call.
Kane said the unit measures success in the number of situations that get resolved peacefully, crediting crisis negotiators and the police canine unit for helping them avoid using lethal force.
While TSU officers wear body armor, and carry military-style automatic rifles, Kane said officers are more aware than ever that they have to conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t compromise the support of the public.
He noted that the TSU worked over 100 calls in 2015
“Out of those 100 calls, there was no significant use of force. There was no excessive force complaints … so I think that means we’re doing it in a manner that the community appreciates and supports. And that’s what’s important to us. We’re there to enhance public and officer safety, not to be (an) occupying force,” he said.