Prince Albert residents show support for city police amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Prince Albert residents shared words of encouragement to the police service as it deals with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) declared an outbreak at the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) on Oct. 18. As of Monday, six members are off-duty because of positive cases for COVID-19.

Over the weekend, residents put up signs outside of the main police station that read ‘get well soon,’ ‘keep looking up’ and ‘we care.’

PAPS spokesperson Charlene Tebbutt said RCMP have been supporting the police service as the six officers recover at home. Tebbutt said the two police services regularly work together including as part of the Integrated Crime Reduction Team.

“Certainly, calls are being met. Over the weekend, we had more than 140 neighbourhood strengthening patrols done,” Tebbutt said. “We are still out there and visible in the community.”

Tebbutt wouldn’t say how many additional officers are self-isolating as a result of the six cases, citing privacy concerns.

"We’re wishing all of our members well, and we’ll certainly have updates on our website if we see more cases, but hopefully we won’t,” she said.

In an emailed statement, the Ministry of Health said some people may self-isolate at the request of a health care provider or at their own discretion. The ministry said preventative measures specific to workplaces include staying home when you’re sick, not hosting or going to large events and keeping your “bubble” small, which includes friends, family and coworkers.

The outbreak comes at a time when the city is seeing a spike in violent crime. 

PAPS Chief Jon Bergen has held two virtual news conferences this month about how it's addressing the problem. He said the police service has formed a new team to respond to a rise in guns and gangs-related calls.