Being a Cop has Always Been a Thankless Job
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.
- 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.
- Some others join out of a sense of adventure, craving fun and action in their job.
- And there are those who join simply to have a respectable, and reliable source of income.
- 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.
Alberta Sheriffs receiving additional officers and more powers with new funding
Mike Ellis shakes hands with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith after being sworn into cabinet as minister of public safety in Edmonton, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. Alberta sheriffs will have expanded powers and play a bigger role in combating rural crime with new funding, the provincial government said Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
St. Paul, Alberta
The Alberta Sheriffs Branch will have expanded powers and play a bigger role in combating rural crime with new funding, the provincial government said Friday.
Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis said $27.3 million will go to new positions and for rural crime initiatives, including two plain clothes teams that will help RCMP with criminal surveillance.
The announcement comes as Alberta continues to mull over whether to create a provincial police service to replace the RCMP.
“There has been some misleading commentary about this investment in the Alberta sheriffs, namely that it’s the way of laying the groundwork for establishing a provincial police service by some other means,” Ellis said Friday in St. Paul, Alta., 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
“I’d like to remind people that the provincial government hasn’t made any decision about an Alberta police service.”
Ellis said although the RCMP has its own surveillance teams, most of the efforts are focused on major investigations. He said the new sheriff teams will fill a gap by helping the RCMP detachments with local investigations.
“I’ve heard countless stories about home invasions being committed by prolific offenders or thefts from farms. Every property owner has the right to feel safe in their home and the right not to wake up and find their equipment gone or fuel siphoned from vehicles,” he said.
“These really are the type of cases that keep Albertans up at night.”
The sheriffs will also get funding to add 20 investigators to the Safer Communities and Neighbourhood unit, which uses civil enforcement to target problem properties where illegal activities take place.
There is also money for the Sheriff Highway Patrol to train and equip its members to help RCMP with emergencies and high-priority calls.
“We will provide all members of the Alberta sheriffs with full powers to arrest under the Criminal Code,” Ellis said.
“Some members of the sheriffs already have Criminal Code authorities, but we believe the public will be better served with consistency throughout this province.”
The head of the Alberta RCMP said he welcomes the additional help from the sheriffs.
“These additional resources for the Alberta Sheriffs will improve our combined ability to suppress criminal activity in rural Alberta,” said Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki in a statement.
Farooq Sheikh, the chief of Alberta Sheriffs, called it a proud day.
“While our members have a visible presence in many functions they perform such as highway patrol, fish and wildlife enforcement, security in our provincial courts … the sheriffs perform a lot of important work to keep communities safe that’s outside of the public eye.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2023.
Finance Minister Travis Toews, Environment Minister Sonya Savage say won’t run again
Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews delivers the budget, in Edmonton, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. Toews says he will not run in the upcoming provincial election. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
By Dean Bennett in Edmonton
Two Alberta government cabinet ministers announced Friday that they will not be seeking re-election.
Travis Toews, the province’s finance minister and the runner-up to Premier Danielle Smith in last fall’s United Conservative Party leadership race, is exiting politics. Environment Minister Sonya Savage also said she will not run in the expected May 29 provincial vote.
Toews, the legislature member for Grande Prairie-Wapiti in northwestern Alberta, ended months of speculation with his announcement. He said it was a recent decision and a difficult one for him and his wife, Kim.
“(There were) personal considerations, certainly family considerations and some business considerations,” Toews said in an interview. “When we added all of them up this seemed like the right decision for us. That was the impetus for it.”
He dismissed suggestions the decision was tied to his loss to Smith or to the party’s further shift to the right under her leadership.
“We have a big tent party. This United Conservative Party has a lot of diversity. All groups are very important,” he said.
“I’m fully committed to the party, to the movement, committed to the premier and committed to an election win this May.”
Toews was elected in 2019 for the UCP and was finance minister for all but a few months when he ran to replace former premier Jason Kenney as party leader, coming in second to Smith.
Savage, the member for Calgary North-West, announced her decision to quit provincial politics with a statement on Twitter, saying she wants to spend more time with her family. She said she looks forward to remaining a party member and wished the premier and her UCP colleagues success in the upcoming election.
In a statement, Smith said Toews has been “one of the strongest finance ministers in Alberta’s history and leaves a legacy of strong fiscal management that I will continue to uphold as premier.”
“I greatly respect his decision to spend more time on the ranch and with his family,” Smith said. “There will be big boots to fill in Grande Prairie-Wapiti, and I wish him, Kim and the family nothing but the very best.”
Smith said Savage will be greatly missed.
“Minister Sonya Savage’s dedication and commitment to furthering Alberta’s energy interests and developing a Made-in-Alberta approach to responsible environmental stewardship of our natural resources will benefit Albertans for decades,” she said in a statement.
Toews had refused to discuss his future in recent weeks, saying he was focused on passing the budget, which featured a projected $2.4-billion surplus along with increased spending across the board.
The decision comes a little over a month from when the writ is expected to drop.
Smith said that given the short window, she will work with the party and the local constituency association to appoint a candidate “so that the new candidate can hit the ground running and ensure a UCP victory in this constituency.”
Toews was the early favourite to replace Kenney as leader last year – with half of the caucus members supporting him — but fell short in the end as Smith galvanized party anger with the federal government and COVID-19 health restrictions.
He locked horns with Smith during the campaign. He criticized her for past advocacy of a provincial sales tax and said her proposed — and since passed — sovereignty act would scare off investment with its promise to ignore federal laws in areas of perceived provincial jurisdiction.
As finance minister, the rancher and accountant oversaw the best and worst of Alberta’s turbulent oil-and-gas-powered economy, with massive deficits, negative oil prices and eye-popping surpluses.
He looked born to the parts of outdoorsman and number cruncher: close-cropped hair, eyeglasses and well-worn cowboy boots with a trademark monotone speaking style occasionally punctuated by high-decibel, finger-pointing attacks on the NDP Opposition during question period.
He stickhandled many controversial files, including de-indexing personal income tax, arguing for wage cuts to nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and lifting the rate cap on auto insurance.
He was also the point person on long-running deliberations to pull Alberta out of the Canada Pension Plan in favour of a provincial one. The government has yet to release research on the merits and drawbacks of such a plan, despite promising two years ago that the release of a report was imminent.
Toews was also among those who were surreptitiously photographed in 2021 at a drinks-and-dinner get-together with Kenney on a rooftop patio on the legislature grounds in contravention of COVID-19 gathering rules.
In a statement, Opposition NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips said she admires Toew’s record.
“He conducts himself with decency and is mostly grounded in reality, unlike the new crop of Smith candidates.”
Toews said his proudest achievement is leaving the province in a better place financially than when he found it, noting the new budget also includes commitments to keeping spending under control while repaying debt and investing in long-term savings.
“We’re leading the nation in job creation,” Toews said.
“All of that tied together certainly brings some satisfaction to these last four years, which have certainly been a bit of a roller-coaster.”
He said the difficult part was long nights of no-win decisions during the COVID-19 crisis, balancing public health with personal freedoms with no clear cut black-and-white answers.
“Those were some of the hardest hours of my life serving on that COVID cabinet committee,” he said.
“(They were) impossible decisions, and knowing those decisions were going to impact Albertans directly. We certainly didn’t get it all right.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2023.
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