By Bill Fox/Columnist
I am fed up with people bashing our police. We are all aware that there have been some terrible, horrifying incidents where some police, particularly in the USA, have been caught abusing their powers. That being said, and acknowledging there may be systemic racism in some of our own police departments, why are folks so down on all our police officers?
As in any profession, there can be some bad apples. However, I honestly believe that the vast majority of our officers here in Canada are deserving of all our respect and admiration.
From my experiences, police officers care. They want to serve and protect our communities. I have heard it said they wish to put away the bad guys.
I’m not that familiar with the training process for all police departments, but let me briefly outline the process to become a member of the RCMP. Applicants must go through a lengthy process; physical fitness requirements, security checks, and polygraph tests. If you are approved to join the training, you will move and live in Regina, at “The Depot,” their training facility. The training program is almost six months in length. Every day of the 24 weeks is a full schedule lasting between 10 and 14 hours.
Recruits are from all over Canada. One year ago there were 8,000 applicants and about 1,200 were accepted into the program. Only approximately 350 completed the program that year.
Within the first week at Regina, a four-minute test is given and, if you fail, you go home. The campus is set up similar to a university campus and there is instruction in defensive tactics, firearms, weight training, running, driving, community policy, Aboriginal healing circles, etc. Recruits have to “earn” pieces of their uniform so each time they pass a test, they are given another piece of that uniform until they have acquired it completely. If you fail a test, you go home.
Eighty per cent of the training is physical. Once the cadets are given a detachment (they are informed where they will be going at 22 weeks), a trainer (field coach) is assigned to them for the first six months to familiarize them with the area and the various differences regarding Criminal Code, motor vehicle requirements and other information of that particular province. So are you ready to sign up?
Imagine how difficult it can be to be a police officer. The recent horrifying killings of an Oshawa family serves as one example.
“The first officers on the scene will never get over what they discovered,” said Steve Ryan of CP24, who previously spent 14 years as a homicide investigator and was involved in several high profile investigations.
As one officer recently posted on Facebook, “Police officers are our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. They’re black, white, brown, all colours, all ethnicities, all faiths, male and female, they are us. They see the worst side of humanity… the sexually abused children, the bloody mangled bodies of traffic victims, the bruised and battered victims of domestic violence, homicide victims, etc.”
Perhaps it is the public that has to be retrained.
“We have grown into a mouthy, mobile phone wielding, vulgar, uncivil society with no personal responsibility and the attitude of ‘it’s the other person’s fault,’ ‘you owe me.’ A society where children grow up with no boundaries or knowledge or concern for civil society and personal responsibility.” Just last week a 12-year-old took his dad’s car out for a few hours of riding around town and the dad simply said he was puzzled as to why?
Further advice, “When an officer says “Put your hands up,” then put your hands up. Don’t reach for something in your pocket, your lap, or your seat. There’s plenty of reason for a police officer to feel threatened, there have been multiple assaults on police officers lately. Comply with requests from the officer, have your day in court. Don’t mouth off, or fight, or refuse to comply… that escalates the situation. If you want to protect your child, teach them respect.
I’m at email@example.com in shock and grieving for my old colleague Chris Traynor and his family, and thankful for the dozens of police that rushed to the scene.