They Pay Me To Do This?

Dan Pugh
Miramichi, New Brunswick

Superintendent, off-road vehicle enforcement unit for the New Brunswick police force

Job description: Supervises a team of 12 snowmobile-mounted police officers for trail patrol and law enforcement, which includes safety, trail pass compliance and sobriety checks; performs snowmobile education-related activities in schools and clubs.

My ride: Arctic Cat Bearcats, modified. “All of our vehicles marked with public safety logo. They’re marked like our trucks: white with reflective tape. They’re fully equipped emergency vehicles with emergency lighting, sirens, the whole works.” There’s also a GPS, flashlights, first aid equipment and tow hooks if someone needs a tow.

Annual mileage: Patrol officers put on 20,000 miles last season. Pugh does some patrol work, but “not as much as I’d like. Because we’re a new department, there’s a lot of administrative function required. But I’m seeing the opportunity for a bit more. That’s what makes this a great job: the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the sport.”

Special training: On-trail officers must take (and pass) a special 12-week course from the Atlantic Police Academy.

Qualities of a good patrol officer: “Because we engage with so many people in the public – I think we did 5,000 trail checks last winter – they have to be outgoing and educated in enforcement and the law. They need to be in good physical condition because you could be snowmobiling 10 hours a day in sometimes-inclement weather. You need a healthy eating lifestyle because it does require physical labor. But most importantly, you need common sense, good judgment and to be a sport enthusiast.”

Typical day on the job: Overnight calls are gathered into a dispatch report and sent to officers in various regions. Officers will prioritize responses. Officers will then pack up gear, gas up, check emergency lighting, provisions, and then either trailer to a pre-determined patrol area (often based on complaints or educational purposes) or leave directly from the office on snowmobiles. They’re on patrol all day. Officers work 40-hour weeks, the majority of it on snowmobile.

My favorite part of the job: “The opportunity to be outdoors in New Brunswick. I’m also really appreciative of the cooperation we get from the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. We’re really on the same page.”

The worst part of the job: “Not having enough time to get out and do [more] physical patrolling.”

Conditions that keep them indoors: “We don’t put a specific temperature to it, but if it’s extreme for normal activities, we may not go out. We don’t want to place anyone in a situation where they’re in danger.”

Common misconception: “People don’t understand that we have an educational component to our jobs. Not everything is enforcement-related.”

Pay range: Based on level of interest in job, and equitable to other enforcement-related activity.

My advice for snowmobilers: “Become members of established clubs. They’re very well organized and it’s a great network for teambuilding and friendships.”

What I do in the summer: Same job, but with ATV patrols.

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