‘It’s crazy’: Queen City Patrol picks up more than 1,000 needles in one spot

Three months into an effort to remove used needles and drug paraphernalia from Regina alleys, the founders of Queen City Patrol never imagined being this busy.

Wade LeCaine and Patty Will, working with fewer than 10 dependable volunteers right now, have picked up 6,595 needles. This weekend alone, they collected 1,078 in one location in North Central.

“It’s crazy, but we’re out there doing it,” LeCaine said.

LeCaine and Will, who met while doing similar volunteer work with White Pony Lodge, struck out on their own after acknowledging the other organization “could only do so much,” according to Will.

“Since then, we haven’t had much sleep,” she said, noting they go out with their volunteers five to six nights each week.

It’s unclear to them whether there’s more drug use, more unsafe disposal or they’re just paying more attention. But they said they do know the unpleasant and dangerous job they’re doing is extremely important.

LeCaine recently stepped on a used needle. He said he was fortunate that it went sideways into the sole of the special footwear he sports while patrolling and he was uninjured.

“I just had an ugly feeling,” he said of his emotions in the moment, which reminded him of why he is doing the work.

“We do it so kids walking down the alley don’t get poked, because half the time you can’t even see them unless you’re looking for them,” he said, noting the needles and paraphernalia are often hidden under snow or dirt at this time of year.

Jamiy Moran, employment co-ordinator at North Central Family Centre, said her organization is appreciative of Queen City Patrol’s effort, especially with 60-70 children coming to after-school programming daily on foot.

“In their journey, I can’t imagine how many needles they could possibly be exposed to,” she said. “So for the safety of the kids, I think picking up the needles is really important.”

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