The Saskatoon Police Air Support Unit will have a new piece of technology within the next 3 months.
The aircraft currently has a forward looking infrared camera that can look closely at different scenes. Now, Police Chief Clive Weighill says the province will be covering costs for a mapping system.
As an example, Weighill says the person in the Air Support Unit currently spotting suspects on the run would direct officers to the "fourth house from the end of Lansdowne Avenue", or "the grey house on Lansdowne Avenue". With the mapping software, the Air Support Unit can identify homes by address, making it easier and safer for officers to respond to a location. He hopes to have the $155,000 mapping system installed on their aircraft by the end of May.
Meanwhile, after Thursday's Board of Police Commissioners meeting, Weighill adds that he wants to see a different police entrance exam than the current option to encourage a more diverse police force. The SIGMA exam covers logic problems, problem solving, judgement, and vocabulary. However, Weighill says the test is very English-heavy, which makes it difficult for some Indigenous people or new Canadians to take the test.
When it comes to police diversity in Saskatoon, 33% of front-line officers are female and 11% are Indigenous. However, there is only 1 Indigenous person working in an executive role, which includes deputy chiefs, superintendents and inspectors. Weighill says they hope to improve those numbers through promotions within the next 3 or 4 years.