May 27th, 2018

Police Academy: MHPS officers each have their own role

By Mo Cranker on March 18, 2017.

After last week’s Citizen’s Police Academy I dubbed patrol officers to be the face of the franchise for the MHPS — this week, we heard from some of “role players” from the organization.

First off was a presentation by two peace officers, and to be honest I had no idea who these people were or what they did with the force. To my surprise, the eight CPOs as they’re called do a ton of the dirty work for the MHPS.

While you won’t see a CPO at a homicide, you will see them if your neighbours are too loud, have loud or annoying pets or refuse to cut their grass.

For perspective, CPOs received 1,742 animal calls in 2016. They also answered to 915 property complaint calls last year, have I mentioned there’s only eight peace officers with the MHPS right now?

These men and women are very busy.

Another part of a CPOs job is selling animal licences for $15. Last year the peace officers distributed 5,254 dog tags in the city, on top of 1,663 licences for cats. Again, it’s not the glorious work of solving a murder, but it’s work that needs to be done by someone — and there’s a lot of it to be done.

Last note about peace officers. They do not carry a gun or enforce the criminal code, but they can pull you over for speeding. I was unaware of this, so the more you know, I guess.

Second up, the crisis negotiating team.

Now here’s a job I will never want to work.

I can hardly handle myself when I forget to bring reusable bags to the grocery store — safe to say I would struggle with talking someone else out of a dangerous, potentially fatally situation.

No thanks.

But these men and women do it, on a daily basis, and apparently hear from a lot of the same people on a repeat basis.

This would be a high-intensity job, with so little room for error. Saying one wrong word to trigger someone in a crisis could be the end of it, and negotiations and conversations with people can take hours of constant work.

There’s things like shooting a gun or a taser I would really like to experience, but trying to talk someone out of harming themselves or someone else is something I never want to try.

Last up was the K9 team.

I wrote a very in depth article on these guys last week, and what they do and their training is amazing.

Thousands of hours get poured into training the dogs to act in these high-pressure situations.

To read all about the MHPS K9 unit go to,

Mo Cranker will write a column for each Saturday detailing his thoughts and experiences on the Citizens’ Police Academy. There will also be pictures and video posted online to the Medicine Hat News Facebook page whenever he does something cool.


Police Academy: Patrol officers are the face of the franchise

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