Calling it a career
Lab West Insp. Sean Ennis retiring after 35 years with the RNC
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.”
RNC Insp. Sean Ennis has finished his career in Lab West and said he wouldn’t have chosen anywhere else.