The year 2020 was anything but typical for the Moose Jaw Police Service.
This past year has included a pandemic, a homicide, and a dismissal appeal of a former officer that never went through.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw the number of assaults in the city and domestic violence increase as people tried to deal with isolation.
Police chief Rick Bourassa said a lot of those situations came down to mental health issues.
“We have seven-day week coverage with our Police And Crisis Team units and so many of these situations are just related to people becoming overwhelmed with the stressors and so our PACT teams have been very valuable this year,” he said.
Bourassa added that they are also working closely with the Saskatchewan Health Authority each time there are changes to the public health order.
“We anticipate that once the restrictions are lifted and life goes back to whatever normal looks like, we will see those numbers come to what would be more normal.”
In October, the dismissal appeal for former officer Alan Murdock finally came to a conclusion.
Murdock was dismissed by Bourassa on June 19, 2019, and he was appealing his dismissal.
After several adjournments and delays, Murdock made the decision to withdraw his appeal. Bourassa is hoping the episode will help instill trust with the public again.
“As we took those steps to make sure that serious misconduct is addressed appropriately in the police service, my hope is that that does increase trust and confidence in policing, and we're going to keep working on doing that and holding ourselves to that high level of accountability that everyone expects of us.”
Also making headlines in 2020, was the police had to deal with one homicide.
On Oct. 28, Police were responding to a call in an apartment building at the corner of Main Street and Stadacona Street West when they discovered a man suffering from multiple stab wounds.
The victim, 33-year-old Shaun Holmes of Moose Jaw, was declared dead at the scene.
The investigation led officers to a residence on the 400 block of Ominica St. E. later that evening. A 33-year-old suspect had barricaded himself in the home and refused to surrender himself, despite multiple efforts from the police.
A long standoff ensued until the RCMP's Emergency Response Unit was called in and broke into the home. The suspect was extracted without further incident at around 4 a.m. on Oct. 29. The entire process occurred in just over 12 hours.
As a result, Vincent William Pickens of Moose Jaw was charged with second-degree murder and several breaches of court orders.