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From Sussex to North Bay

Sgt. Jane Batcheler and Cst. Paul Eastes, of the Sussex Police Service, have spent two weeks with the North Bay Police Service as part of an exchange program. Photo by Phil Novak, Const.

Sgt. Jane Batcheler and Cst. Paul Eastes, of the Sussex Police Service, have spent two weeks with the North Bay Police Service as part of an exchange program. Photo by Phil Novak,

Const. Paul Eastes plans to debrief his Sussex Police Service superiors about the two weeks he spent with the North Bay Police Service.

But the 32-year-old English bobbie will have to talk to his five-year-old daughter’s class first.

“Caitlin’s doing a project at school about cold places and she’s told her teacher ‘my dad’s gone to Canada,’ and you know how cold it is at the moment,” Eastes said on his last day in the city Friday.

“So when I get back I’ve got to do a presentation to the class about what it’s like living in a cold place.”

Same hours
Eastes and Sgt. Jane Batcheler were in North Bay as part of an exchange program which sent Cst. Shawn Divine and Det. Dan Webber headed across the pond to the Sussex service, which polices the cities of Brighton and Hove, Gatwick Airport and the seaside towns of West Wittering, Worthing, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Eastbourne and Hastings.

Both Eastes and Batcheler had to write essays about why they wanted to participate in the exchange.

And once here they threw themselves into the job, working the same hours as their host service, Eastes and Batcheler said.

Very interesting
They also participated in some things they’d never done before in their policing careers, such as riding snow machines and checking out ice fishing huts.

“It was just an overall fantastic experience,” Eastes said.

“It made us appreciate how you do things and makes you realize there are certain aspects of policing in England we could change for the better. It was very interesting.”

Batcheler said seeing how things are done here also made her appreciate one major difference between police in North America and England.

“I appreciate the fact that we don’t carry guns, and I wouldn’t want to carry a gun,” Batcheler, 38, said.

Certain police units carry firearms, Batcheler said, “but, speaking for myself, as soon as we start to routinely arm our police officers I think it would actually up the level of crime, until the criminals start carrying guns on a regular basis, whereas now they mainly carry knives.”

Bigger focus
Batcheler said there were several aspects of Canadian policing she’d like to take back with her: the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, and the provincial witness surtax program.

“It puts something back into the legal system, and the victims surcharge money goes to fun victims services, which is great,” Batcheler said.

“Sometimes as police officers we tend to lose site of the victim, although it’s becoming a bigger focus back at home, because we’re so intent on catching the bad guys, sometimes we forget about the victim and they are very important, important because without their support, without their willingness to go to court, we lose that.”

A difference
Eastes and Batcheler visited the Metro Toronto Police Service as part of their visit in Canada, but they said they prefer working in a smaller environment.

“The North Bay Police Service is not too dissimilar to what we have at home,” Eastes said.

“You can make a difference, but in Toronto you’re just one of a number,” Batcheler said.

Eastes and Batcheler said they really appreciated the hospitality they were shown by their host police service, and by North Bay residents who recognized them from their appearances in and on local media outlets.

“I can’t believe how strong your community spirit is here,” Eastes said.

“Everyone was keen to meet us and that’s been overwhelming.”

Creative spark
When Eastes and Batcheler weren’t experiencing on-the-job aspects of North Bay policing, they were having their first taste of Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts, as well as chicken wings and beer at the Bull and Quench, a local watering hole.

“We don’t have chicken wings back home,” Batcheler said.
That remark ignited a creative spark in Eastes's head.

“Maybe we should open up a Tim Horton’s that serves wings and beer,” he said with a laugh.

“Now that would be something.”