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FACE TO FACE: Sarah Swallow
Delta Police A/Sgt. Sarah Swallow says she always knew she wanted to become a police officer.
Swallow grew up in England before moving to Langley with her family at the age of 16, and after attending UBC, she entered the world of policing as a dispatch operator with the DPD in 2001.
“I was looking for a way to get into policing, and I fell in love with the city and the department,” she says.
Swallow says her experience as a dispatcher helped prepare her to take the next step and become a reserve constable in 2006, before becoming a regular member after her training was complete in 2007.
“It gave me an inside look at the kind of calls we’d get,” she says. “I think Delta has a unique policing situation. Our motto is ‘No call is too small,’ and it allowed me to see that.
“Policing isn’t all car chases and sliding across hoods.”
Swallow is a certified field trainer and has been the primary field training officer for numerous recruits. Prior to joining the Media Liaison Office she was acting sergeant of a platoon in both North and South Delta.
As the Delta Police Department’s new spokesperson and media liaison, Swallow says an increasingly important part of her job is connecting with the public through social media.
But while social media can be a valuable communications tool, it can also create problems.
“Erroneous information can spread very quickly, and people tend to believe the first information they get,” she says.
But policework still takes time, which often conflicts with the public’s demands for answers immediately.
“Police investigations still have to be slow and methodical,” says Swallow. “We have to investigate every avenue and can’t jump to conclusions. That takes time.”
However, she says it’s important for the department to engage with public and keep them in the loop.
“Gone are the days of the police saying ‘no comment’,” Swallow says. “People want to know what has happened and they want to know what we’re doing about it. We want to continue showing everyone we are a transparent department and we’re accountable to the citizens of Delta.”