Call­ing it a ca­reer

Lab West Insp. Sean Ennis re­tir­ing af­ter 35 years with the RNC

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE - BY EVAN CAREEN

LAB WEST, NL – Insp. Sean Ennis is hang­ing up his boots af­ter 35 years with the Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary.

Ennis has been serv­ing for the last three years as the in­spec­tor for the Lab West de­tach­ment, his sec­ond time in the area af­ter serv­ing five years as a sergeant in the area 20 years ago. He said when he came to take over the de­tach­ment, he didn’t ex­pect it to be as busy as it was and he has loved end­ing his ca­reer in Lab West.

“In terms of my ca­reer, my time here in Labrador West will be prob­a­bly the favourite years of my ca­reer be­cause the com­mu­nity made my fam­ily, re­ally made me, feel wel­come,” he told the Aurora.

“This is home. There are so many great peo­ple here in Labrador West that are ac­tively try­ing to make the com­mu­nity bet­ter, and that’s one thing that, walk­ing away from here, I will miss. When the wife and I point our car to­ward St. John’s, it won’t be a happy end­ing. At the end of the day we’ll be leav­ing a lot of friends and a sense of ac­com­plish­ment be­hind.”

He said the last year in Labrador West has been hard on the com­mu­nity and the RNC. With a high rate of sui­cides, it left a mark on the town and the of­fi­cers.

Even though there are many sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges, he said he is proud of the way they pro­moted men­tal health.

“That’s one of things, at the end of the day, when I’m gone af­ter 35 years, our re­sponse to the com­mu­nity in the last three months has been a lot bet­ter than it would’ve been in the past, no doubt about it,” Ennis said.

“We have po­lice of­fi­cers im­pacted. Peo­ple are sur­prised by that – as we went through, that it af­fects us, too. We don’t just go out to the calls and deal with the type of things that we deal with with­out it hav­ing an ef­fect. We can’t just walk away.”

He said dur­ing one of the ground searches he was look­ing at the search team and it clicked in with him they weren’t just look­ing for a per­son, they were look­ing for a friend.

“Those ground search guys, when I look at them, they’re 10feet tall and bul­let­proof to me. They are men among men. And when you’re see­ing them have an emo­tional re­sponse be­cause they’re look­ing for friends, that’s hard.”

Ennis said deal­ing with men­tal health has been an is­sue he’s worked on his whole time in Lab West, lend­ing his voice to speak out and say­ing it can be done bet­ter.

“I’ve al­ways been an ad­vo­cate of and very out­spo­ken on how the RNC deals with men­tal health cri­sis. The com­mu­nity ex­pects us to re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately and get some­one to the hos­pi­tal. I can do that bet­ter if it were from a point of ed­u­ca­tion.”

He said an is­sue with that now is that, if the RNC goes on a call, they can’t get any in­for­ma­tion on a per­son’s his­tory due to pri­vacy leg­is­la­tion. A step he sees in the right di­rec­tion is the prov­ince look­ing at health and po­lice re­spond­ing to a sit­u­a­tion so it can be dealt with from a point of knowl­edge and ed­u­ca­tion.

“We see this as a real vic­tory; gov­ern­ment is look­ing at po­lice and health re­spond­ing to­gether in a men­tal health sit­u­a­tion. They bring with them the in­for­ma­tion know­ing that you’re deal­ing with some­one who is bipo­lar, and then we can deal with the per­son in the best ap­pro­pri­ate way. The like­li­hood of suc­cess­ful out­come greatly in­creases. We need to be able to do po­lice work from an ed­u­cated point of view and that’s some­thing that I’ve been push­ing.”

FILE PHOTO

RNC Insp. Sean Ennis has fin­ished his ca­reer in Lab West and said he wouldn’t have cho­sen any­where else.

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