Thank you very much for your article regarding defunding law enforcement. I appreciate the thought put into the article and the rational approach to the subject.
The past couple weeks my husband has been spat on, called a racist and a pig several times while carrying out his job as a police officer. I can assure you he is none of those. This honestly isn’t new but it has increased in frequency.
My husband and the members he works with here in Kamloops and Barriere have worked really hard in becoming more cultural sensitive and work closely with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc.
They have open communication and respect for each other and recognized the wrong doings of the past and injustices systemically. They are working hard to make change happen. They are trying their best but they are frustrated with the ignorance and lack of support lately from the general public, especially the spread of incorrect information.
Unfortunately, due to budget cuts in health care (mainly mental health and addictions) and Ministry of Children and Family, what RCMP members have had to take on is a lot more responsibility and they are burned out.
Overdoses have once again gone up, mental health crisis have increase. They have done great things such as the introduction of Car 40 where a trained officer and RN attend mental health calls; however, it isn’t always available 24/7 due to a lack of funding.
Burnout is what I recognized in my husband coming home from his shift yesterday. A dispondance that he couldn’t shake, he had been working on a particularly awful file that morning, he said, and of course he couldn’t talk about it.
He finally had time to check on the news. It was not pretty, article after article about what the RCMP has done wrong. He recognizes their faults but this he felt was personal. An attack on the men and women he works, that back him up.
How does an officer struggles perform their job? They do not wish to use guns or tasers for risk of fatalities and repercussions. Now they are being called out for taking someone down with their hands.
What some don’t realize is often RCMP officers are out in rural areas alone, having to do what they can to detain someone until backup arrives. Often officers have to arrest those who outweigh them, are drunk or on drugs. But that is their job and training has prepared them for it. But sure the after can look bad especially if the arrest was being resisted.
Being a registered nurse and having worked in several different areas over the past 10 years of my career I can tell you it is incredibly hard to restrain someone who is drunk or high. Often we use four or five health care workers to detain one individual and often we do rely on police to help us.
We have been punched and hit but not as often as the police. I cannot imagine having to wrestle someone to the ground and attempt to put handcuffs on alone. Especially at night on a rural road.
I believe some individuals forget that these officers are human beings, with souls, families and hearts. You can scream in their face and they are taught not to react but it weighs on all of them. Eventually it builds up and they take it home and to heart.
If you look at average wages of RCMP officers you can say they make $90,000 but I would argue most “boots on the ground” are constables and make significantly less than that. Less than most bylaw officers. Numbers available on the government website.
My husband still loves his job. He will block traffic for protesters because they have a right to free speech. He will be that officer who stops someone walking down the road at 2 a.m. looking down on their luck and ask how they are. Ask if they need medical attention.
He gets to know the people on the streets, he notices when someone goes missing. He has saved lives and our kids look up to him. He never asks for credit or a pat on the back, he doesn’t even know I am writing this article. He just wants to keep the peace and come home to his family and he is not the only one.
We do need more funding in health care not less in law enforcement. Thank you for your words, they do mean a great deal in a world of social media spins.