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Alberta

Being a Cop has Always Been a Thankless Job

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Being a cop has always been a thankless job.

But in our current climate, police would be happy for the bygone days of a thankless community, compared to what they are currently enduring.

Never before in modern history have police officers been accused of being the worst of society.  Today, the reputation of cops is constantly under attack by the media. And fringe groups who purport to have a noble agenda are paradoxically allowed by our governments to wreak havoc on our cities without consequence. Entire city blocks have been burned, children have been murdered, and yet the media all but ignores the backlash of the problem, which they themselves are largely responsible for inciting.

Well-intended people have been duped into believing that roughly half of society are devout white supremacists, and that visible minorities are being hunted and killed by the police.  The media bolsters this false narrative daily, which has created an incredibly unstable and explosive environment. When a group of people believes that they are in danger of being killed by the police, it’s only natural for a member of that group to be afraid, and resist arrest.  When you resist arrest, you are making a safe situation dangerous by escalating the force required to arrest you. If you comply with the orders of the police officer, you are almost ALWAYS safe.  It is extremely rare that a compliant arrestee is harmed or killed as a result of the arrest. In those rare instances, the police officers are likely at fault, and deserve to be charged. Only improved training and selection practices can reduce these rare instances.

A part of policing which very few average people are willing to engage in is combat.  Most people have never been in a dangerous fistfight, but for cops, getting into scraps is a common occurrence.  Some of these fights involve armed bad guys who are high on crystal meth, and who are nearly impossible to control.  When a crazed meth head charges at you with a knife, the only realistic response is to pull out your pistol and fire a few rounds into the center of the target.  The pollyanic fools who cry, “you should have shot them in the leg!” have no concept of the reality of combat.  There isn’t a police officer alive that has the training and skill to reliably make a “leg shot” against a crazed charging assailant.  And no, a taser is not reliable enough to deploy in this situation either.

Armchair critics are quick to judge and condemn the use of violent force, without having the faintest idea of the reality of a combat environment.  Many will recoil at the word “combat”, by saying, “combat is for a battle field, not for our streets! Our cops are not soldiers!”   And, they would be wrong.  Combat is a violent “must win” altercation.  When someone is violently resisting arrest…that absolutely qualifies as combat.  It’s not the police who initiate the combat…it’s the person being arrested who creates the combat situation, which the police have no choice but to respond to with force.

Police officers work in a world that is completely foreign to most middle class folks.  The average person can no more understand what it is to be a cop, than they can understand what it’s like to live on Mars.

It seems that the public has forgotten the simple fact that cops are just people.  Flawed, regular human beings who have decided to risk their lives so that others may live safely.

When people join the police force, they do so for one of four reasons.

  1. Most join out of a sense of responsibility to provide meaningful service to their community. These people tend to make the best police officers, and often make up the majority of a good police force. Lately the media has been ignoring the fact that most police officers fit this description.
  2. Some others join out of a sense of adventure, craving fun and action in their job.
  3. And there are those who join simply to have a respectable, and reliable source of income.
  4. But unfortunately, there are a few who join because they crave having a sense of power.  These are the problem cops which every police organization tries to weed out, yet every police service has at least a few of these problem children to deal with. These are the minority of cops, which the media are currently focusing on, and they are painting all police with this contaminated brush.

In addition to these four types of police officers, there is a rare outlier. Occasionally, a trigger-happy psychopath will slip through the cracks.  The psychological evaluations are put in place as a filter to weed out these types of applicants, but no system is perfect.  Psychopaths often know the right words to say, and how to mask their true identity.  Even a lie detector test can be defeated by a psychopath or sociopath.  I won’t pretend that these people don’t occasionally make it onto an otherwise honourable police service, however I also won’t agree that police services across the western world have been over-run by them as the media would have you believe.

There are bad apples in every organization, and try as you might, you’ll never weed 100% of them out.  If you’re going to have a large group of people, there will always be a tiny minority within the ranks who will potentially cause great harm.

The truth about police officers is that they have chosen a life of dangerous, high stress service, so that you and I can live a safer, less stressful life.  They deal with dangerous people, so that YOU don’t have to.  They literally get punched in the face, so that YOU don’t have to.  Lets face it, most people have no ability whatsoever to defend themselves against a violent attacker.  We should all be grateful to those who put themselves in harms way so that they can arrest, and lock up the people who are a danger to society.

Now, with all of that being said, how can Police officers muscle through the negativity and added danger they now face?

Let’s’ start with something we can control, which is our perspective. 

“I hate you!” are three words a parent never wants to hear from their child. When it happens, although it may sting for a moment, a good parent quickly realizes that their kid is simply having a fit, and doesn’t know how else to express themselves.   Also, it’s easy to discard unkind words from a child by realizing that they simply don’t know any better.  “If they knew better, they would do better” is a mantra I strive to remember.

When it’s a large group of “adults” who are pitching a fit in the form of a riot, it’s difficult to remember that they don’t know any better.  EVERYONE feels justified in their cause, regardless of the facts at hand.

Regardless of the haters, try to remember why you’re there in uniform.  You are there to serve those who need you, with or without their appreciation.  Your life is one of sacrifice, and some days suck worse than others, but there are still good days.  You help.  You DO make a difference, and whether the public knows it or not, they need you.

Remember that the anti-cop sentiment is based on a belief in a false narrative.  Despite the demonstrative evidence to the contrary, these misguided people actually believe that the Police are out to get people of colour.  We must realize that although misguided, their outrage is real to THEM. They really don’t know any better, and it’s not their fault.   The media has created this environment with their bias.

Be mindful of your focus.

Now is a great time to stay off of Facebook.  If you can’t limit your social media, then at least purge everyone from your contacts list who shared negative posts about the police.  It’s easy to unfriend, unfollow, or even BLOCK people.  You don’t need to engage. You won’t change anyone’s mind, so why try?

Remember, and focus on those who appreciate you.  If you look, you’ll see armies of supporters who are cheering for you.  They may be the “silent” majority, but they are there all the same.

Mark E. Meincke
Listen to this article on Operation Tango Romeo HERE

Father, Professional Development Trainer, Author

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Alberta

Hospital and health-care staff in Alberta to return to work today

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EDMONTON — Hospital and health-care staff are to return to work today after the Alberta Labour Relations Board ruled they acted illegally when walking off the job to protest recent cuts.

In a decision issued late Monday, the board ruled the workers’ refusal to work amounted to an illegal strike under the province’s Labour Relations Code, and they must return to work according to their scheduled shifts.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents the workers, said it would notify its members of their obligation to obey the labour board’s directive.

The AUPE represents about 58,000 health-care workers, although it wasn’t clear how many walked off the job.

There were reports of picketing outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital and University of Alberta in Edmonton, Foothills Hospital and the South Health Campus in Calgary, as well as at many other facilities across the province.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the United Conservative government would be cutting up to 11,000 health jobs to save money during the pandemic, but he said nurses and front-line clinical staff would not be affected.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canadians don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ when voting during pandemic: experts

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EDMONTON — Monday’s re-election of another incumbent premier in Canada’s third recent provincial election shows Canadians don’t want to “rock the boat” during a global pandemic, say political experts.

Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick have all had elections in the last two months that were defined by COVID-19. All the incumbent parties were re-elected. And British Columbia and New Brunswick went from minority governments to majorities.

Although each election had its own provincial issues, three professors pointed out that the votes were in provinces that have had some success keeping the novel coronavirus under control. Voters may have been happy with how the leaders handled the health crisis and wanted to continue in the same direction.

“It’s so difficult to predict what voters had in mind but, if there is a collective will, certainly it does seem to point to … stability is what they wanted,” said Donald Wright, professor and chair of political science at the University of New Brunswick.

“Canadians can look at the disaster unfolding in the United States and be thankful they have good governments both in Ottawa and the provincial capitals. Canada may be very appreciative of the governments we had with the pandemic.”

New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservatives were re-elected in September with a majority for Premier Blaine Higgs. His snap election call made the province the first to hold a vote since the pandemic began.

A similar dynamic played out in British Columbia where Premier John Horgan’s NDP gained enough seats on Saturday to form a majority government.

“I can say that certainly in B.C., a big part of the dynamic was that people felt this jurisdiction (did) relatively well (with COVID) and consequently worried that any changing government might destabilize that,” said Max Cameron, a professor in the University of British Columbia’s political science department.

“I think it did produce that desire to not to rock the boat at this particular moment, so in a kind of ironic way, you could say that the experience of governing a minority actually catapulted the government into a majority.”

A similar sentiment must have been felt among Saskatchewan’s electorate Monday, said Gerald Baier, an associate political science professor at the University of British Columbia. Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe won a majority government, the party’s fourth in a row.

Moe and his opponent, NDP Leader Ryan Meili, had contrasting plans for how to steer the province through the pandemic.

Meili promised millions of dollars in increased spending for classrooms and to hire more front-line health workers. Moe promised to balance the books by the 2024-2025 fiscal year, while keeping the economy going and creating jobs through tax and rebate incentives.

“(If) people are happy with the job the government’s been doing during the pandemic, they’re much more likely to say, ‘Now is not the time for a change’,” said Baier.

“They’re much more likely to say, ‘Right now is not the time for a new set of hands on the wheel’ and I think that’s something that explains part of the dynamic in Saskatchewan.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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