LETTER – For police officers, there’s only one way to go, and that’s forward

EDITOR’S NOTE: Recently, police across Canada were asked by the media to share their personal experiences and perspectives on the issue of racism and discrimination. Some RCMP officers have shared their stories to their personal social media accounts. B.C. RCMP Sergeant Major Sebastien Lavoie is one of those officers and has agreed to share his post.

A society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.

I have been holding my peace by refraining to speak publicly about the tragic chain of events that led to where we are today. The unspeakable actions and inaction of a few uniform wearing officers, and the horrible demise of another one.

Sgt. Major Sebastien Lavoie.

Every time, I watched the video I heard my heart break, not only for George Floyd, but also for every officer that has sacrificed so much for the collective good. They all did so at an incredibly high personal cost and their voices have been relegated to chatter that has been all but silenced.

Friends turning on their friends in the Law Enforcement community, lifelong efforts negated by those supposed to be the rock under our feet. What does the way forward look like for those who have chosen a profession perceived by so many as oppressive, abusive and self-serving?

There is only one way, and that is forward. Learn as much as we can from history so that it may never be repeated. Understand that society is heartbroken, angry, and unable to take the emotional step back. Let the people in your circle live those emotions and try your very best not to take it personally.

Trying to convey to people that you are a good officer is the equivalent of trying to reason with an enraged loved one. Wait until the dust settles, continue to provide your service in a professional, compassionate and safe manner. If your friend’s list has to be amended to keep those who have been able to voice their discontent while continuing to support you and those like you, then do so.

Remember that actions speak louder than words and that everyone in the Law Enforcement community bears the burden of the actions of a few. Be the one that consistently reflects positively on your peers, for on that you must never compromise.

Don’t try and change the world, but don’t ever let the world change you unless it is for the better.

Stay the course.


About Mel Rothenburger (8559 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on LETTER – For police officers, there’s only one way to go, and that’s forward

  1. Tony Brumell // June 21, 2020 at 11:46 PM // Reply

    Stay the course Sgt Mjr Lavoie ? Stay the course ? The course is on the wrong heading. It’s not the actions of the officers who kill or murder essentially innocent people. It’s the system that decrees they may do so. Police take on jobs that do not concern them and that they are not qualified to do. Their job is to protect the innocent and prosecute the guilty. If an operation that is being taken on does not pertain to either of these it must be dropped. Two people have very recently been killed by police (The very ones who are supposed to protect them ) while doing WELLNESS CHECKS . The police became the ones who were the primary danger in both cases.Both cases could/ should have been terminated /de-escalated before anyone started shooting.
    I understand that force is sometimes needed ,even deadly force but in the vast majority of actions the police could simply back off ,de- escalate and isolate the situation and wait for someone more qualified to procure a less deadly outcome..
    In cases where emotional or mental upset are concerned they; the men with the guns; must back away ,contain the situation at a distance and call in the people trained to handle situations where you are not qualified.
    Racial intolerance and a “shoot to kill” policy has been at the root of North Americas police forces for a hundred years or more. Finally I believe that governments and police understand that it has to stop. Training and screening for those intolerances must be paramount for all officers old and new.
    Staying the course SGT MJR Lavoie ?That is precisley what you must not do.
    I’m note sure if endemic is the right word but systemic and ingrained also come to mind.
    Peace and justice must not just be words but those ideals must be sought and practised.
    The consequences of not doing so are only just begining to be understood.And it’s terrifying.

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