EDITORIAL – Like everyone else, police deserve a break every once in a while
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
POLICE ARE HUMAN TOO. A couple of recent news reports confirm it.
In one case, RCMP officers were accused of making insensitive remarks during a call to an overdose at the Merit Place shelter.
Apparently, they were disrespectful of a man who required naloxone to save his life. On another occasion, an officer took video inside the shelter, raising concerns about privacy.
An apology has been extended to the shelter management, which is appropriate. Those who avail themselves of social services because they’re without homes, or who are addicted, deserve to be treated professionally.
These recent incidents are remindful of at least one situation during the pandemic in which snide remarks were made about someone who was suffering from COVID and who was in deep distress.
It’s also a reminder of what first responders go through on a daily basis. They’re called upon to deal with unpleasant, unhealthy and often dangerous situations so the rest of us don’t have to. They’re trained for it, experienced in it, but they nonetheless suffer their own stress.
That stress is bound to sometimes bring out the kind of behaviour that’s unbecoming of their responsibilities. But it’s understandable.
Does it call for sensitivity training? Does it require reprimands? Maybe, but unless there’s evidence that it’s endemic, it seems to me an apology should cover it.
Many of the people police deal with, especially, certainly get a lot of slack from the system, so the men and women whose job it is to protect society deserve some understanding, too.
Another incident reported in the past few days is simply a head scratcher. A cabbie complained that he lost a fare because a police officer gave a ride to four women who exited a downtown bar.
The reason for the ride is fuzzy. It’s quite possible the officer was simply making sure they got home safely. Some days, it seems, police are criticized no matter what they do.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served as mayor of Kamloops, school board chair and TNRD director, and is a retired daily newspaper editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The police officers who respond to our calls re people who have no housing who are camping in our downtown apartment stairwells, garbage compound, back garden and even our parkade when they broke in do a thankless job. But they are there when we call. Sometimes there is only one and I worry about there safety.
So thank you to them and to Community Services who also answer our calls.