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.
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.
Sergeant Major SEBASTIEN LAVOIE