LETTER: Officers should be able to focus on policing

Regrettably, there is a movement both in this country and the United States against the police. Unfortunately there is a serious problem involving Black and Indigenous peoples.

Nevertheless, we need the police and they need our support. When an armed police office tells someone to stop or yield, these instructions should be obeyed without question. Questions can be brought forward when the situation comes under control. Many times you see a police officer trying to restrain a suspect who is resisting. This explodes into a violent and disastrous result. I am assuming it is not a pleasant feeling, being stopped and held by police, but things should not accelerate to a confrontation. Things are getting out of hand, and a need for change is unavoidable.

Put yourself in the police officer’s boots. The officer doesn’t know most of the time what they are going to be involved with. The officer has to sum up the situation in a second, and if confronted with a weapon, has less than a tenth of a second. Officers are expected to ascertain if there is a mental problem, a murderous intent, or complete lies.

I wholeheartedly sympathize with those who have been injured or killed in a confrontation with the police. But I also sympathize with the police who have a daunting job of trying to stay alive themselves and to safeguard us all from perpetrators. In a single day, police have to handle many different scenarios. Imagine the different emotions that go on, having to deal with violence in the home, involving injured children, to assisting the injured in serious car crash. Then being confronted by someone that has to be brought under control who is not complying with police instructions.

Now there is a call for defunding this service. I remember in Halifax when the police went on strike. They called in the Pinkertons and swore them in as special constables. We cannot survive without the police.

I agree, change has to come, but not by weakening the operation of the police service. There is a call for police to be trained to deal with mental or domestic complications. It is impossible for a police officer to ascertain if a person has a mental problem, especially when this person is running towards you waving two machetes. The officer is left no time to discuss the matter with the distraught person. If someone has to get hurt, why should it be the police officer?

I believe that other agencies should be set up with experts who can deal with this situation and not leave it up to the police. When there is a hostage situation, a hostage negotiator is brought in to defuse and eliminate a serious conflict. Specialists can deal with social aspects, such as school visits and other areas that need discussions with the public.

Armed police officers should be allowed to patrol our streets, safeguarding us all from the criminal elements, and not train and use them as social service personnel. We live in a very different world at this time. There is a great need for change, and trying to blame the police is not going to solve anything.

Let’s get back to the basics of what the uniformed armed police office’s role is. Remembering, it is they who put their lives on the line for all of us every day. Remember the loss of Const. Sarah Becket. Let us all take a step back and start showing respect on both sides, and come up with good solutions for the future. I thank the police for their service and trust the public will rethink their attitude to the very people we rely on.

Paul Collins

Langford

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