Commendations, long service awarded by police

The Weyburn Police Service recognized five police members and a dispatcher in the first annual police chief’s commendation awards, handed out at the council meeting on Mar. 23.
Two police members (one retired) received 30-year police exemplary service medals, issued by the Governor General of Canada, and four chief’s commendation awards were presented, including to another retired member.
“Most people don’t see what we do,” said Chief Marlo Pritchard prior to handing out the awards. “We have some very dedicated police officers, and it’s absolutely a privilege to work with these officers.”
Retired inspector Russ Chartrand, and Sgt. Dana Pretzer, were both presented with the police exemplary service medals, with the 30-year bars.
Retired Sgt. Garth Oberkirsch was presented with a Chief’s commendation for his important role in chairing the Southeast Regional Mobilization Initiative, which was formed in 2013.
Insp. Rod Stafford read out the commendation information, with the awards handed out by Chief Pritchard and Mayor Debra Button, chair of the Weyburn Police Commission.
“As a strong believer of community policing, he was the first chair at the Hub table. It’s a celebration of the collaborative multi-agency team with the goal of reducing crime and victimization. From the Hub table, strategies are developed to address these issues,” said Insp. Stafford, adding that Oberkirsch had put in long hours of his own time to ensure that the Hub initiative moved forward.
Oberkirsch thanked former inspector Chartrand and Chief Pritchard “for placing confidence in me. It’s hard to be retired; I still get lots of calls at home from residents. I valued my years with the Weyburn Police Service very much. I’m proud of the city, of the administrators and officers I had the ability to work with, and I hope it will be a viable force for years to come. I know the force is in good hands.”
A group of three commendations were presented to two constables and their dispatcher for “meritorious service” in how they handled a violent situation, namely the attempted murder and violent assault on the night of Dec. 8, 2014.
Dispatcher Leanne Anderson received the chief’s commendation along with Const. Brent Van De Sype and Const. Ryan Cherniawsky, for their “meritorious service” in responding when a call came in from a distraught woman who was being assaulted in her home north of Weyburn.
“Leanne learned the suspect was armed with a knife, and there were numerous individuals in the house at the time,” read Insp. Stafford, noting that Anderson relayed the information to Const. Van De Sype and Const. Cherniawsky, and they responded quickly, dealing first with an injured male who came out of the house as they arrived, and then later arresting the suspect.
The injured man was taken to hospital, and the investigation was handed over to the RCMP, with the result that the suspect was charged, and is now serving an eight-year prison term for attempted murder, and break-and-enter with intent.
Insp. Stafford said these three were being recognized for the coordination of their efforts as a team as they intervened to ensure the situation did not become worse, and the safety of the victims in the home was paramount.
“With every job you have your good days and your bad days; I know we have some experienced members of the Weyburn Police Service, and some stick around, marry and raise their children here,” noted Mayor Button.

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