Friday, August 16, 2013

Police and Media.. A Wife's Point of View


 
This week in Alberta a police officer was beaten, left in a ditch, and subsequently airlifted to hospital.  He remains in hospital in stable condition days after.

It barely made headlines.  In fact, you had to search it out in order to find any information about the incident until days after.

It’s no secret that it’s been a rough few weeks in Alberta.  There have been four major incidents leaving three suspects dead, and two in hospital with gunshot wounds.

Alberta is also home to the deadliest police shooting in RCMP history.  Mayerthorpe, for most RCMP and their families, brings back the memories and headlines we all watched in shock.  Someone wanted to kill the police, and ultimately succeeded in extinguishing four, young, bright, lives.

The whole country reverberated again when in Saskatchewan, two other RCMP were killed not long after, followed closely by a member who lost his life in BC. 

And, of course, there are many times officers are injured on the job that never gets reported to the media.  Let me be the first to tell you it happens much more often than you think.  Luckily for the majority of cases, the RCMP get their man.

I am both a student of journalism, and an RCMP wife.  As such, you can imagine the double edge sword with which I read these stories in recent weeks.  I was taught that reporting always has to be fair, unbiased, and accurate.  However, the reporter’s angle, or sources they choose to use can turn one very cut and dry article, into a slam piece almost unknowingly.  It would appear as of late, this seems to be happening more often than not.

A reporter wants to get to the most intimate sources of any story they are covering.  Hearsay never used to be thought of as a reliable source, however more and more you see it used as such in articles. 

For example, “I never knew the young man who is accused, but his family says he’s a great, solid, hardworking kind of guy, who just doesn’t have it in him to do this.”

So his family thinks he’s awesome despite the plethora of charges he faces… you don’t say. 

You see why I bring this up, is that it almost always happens in a police involved article.  Of course the police do not  and cannot speak publically about character.  It’s as divisive and biased as people are, but the media loves to jump on the random character witness willing to talk all day about what they’ve heard someone say about someone who knows the family well.

I know they want a story, but here’s where the other half of me kicks in.

It’s totally biased and completely unfair to paint the accused/suspect as a family guy who was going about his daily business, and to seemingly juxtapose the police as heartless, cruel, abusers of force.

I can’t help but feel like the media has scapegoated police to the point that we now, as a culture, believe this to be fact. 

Police cannot be trusted.  They will beat you, and perhaps shoot you for no good reason.  They are uneducated, modern day thugs paid to enforce unfair laws and rules to a generally law abiding, and peaceful society.

Uh-huh.

As wives and children of police officers perhaps we are more sensitive to it, but we as a society hear it all the time. 

The dickhead police officer that pulled you over for DOING SOMETHING ILLEGAL. 

The asshole of a cop who didn’t like being called an asshole of a cop. 

The police watchdog pages, the petitions against use of force by police, those who video police doing their jobs in attempt to catch a slip-up.  The people who are completely terrifying for anyone who loves someone with a badge: The Police Hater.  More and more prevalent, they despise everything the police stand for and, like the sad events of Mayerthorpe,  and Spiritwood proved, will force those we love to pay the absolute price for wearing the badge.

Then you open a paper, cringe as the headline blasts something awful like “MAN KILLED AT HANDS OF POLICE” and read the articles that accompany the quotes about the stellar attributes of the people it would appear were unjustly accosted by the police. 

No one deserves to die.  It’s that simple.    No police officer wants to have to use deadly force as an option to protect themselves.  That’s also simple. 

Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice.  Don’t do drugs, be in a gang, or party like it’s 1965.  Follow these instructions and you’ll probably never have a run in with the police.  You don’t often hear about a friendly  game of Yahtzee getting interrupted by police tasering them.  Just sayin….

I mean I’ll admit to being completely biased, but the police officers I know are the kind of people that volunteer to coach kids, give elderly people their seats, respect those in leadership or professional positions (ie. Nurses, doctors, teachers..), and want to get home without killing someone.

You know, just average kind of guys and girls.

I don’t dispute there are some bad police officers.  Like any other profession the people behind the badge are humans. With flaws and faults.  I believe that those that made mistakes need to be held accountable.  I believe that an inquiry must take place to find out if appropriate action took place in cases of deadly force being used.  What I will take issue with, and shout on a mountain top (I am in Alberta after all.. I can totally do it…) is that on the whole, these men and women we ask to protect us are pretty awesome human beings. 

What has made it impossible for me to keep quiet, is this unnerving realization that policing is becoming more and more dangerous in a world where the media is claiming to make things more fair.  Back to the old chicken and egg conundrum.. which came first?

As a society have we raised children who learn at an early age to dislike and distrust police enough to grow into full blown police haters by adulthood? And is the media simply picking up on the underlying diminishing of respect for police and reporting the stories as thus, OR is the media’s constant reports about police brutality, and dysfunction within the police forces, leaving a taste of utter lack of respect and indifference to the men and women sworn to protect us?

I don’t know the answer.  I feel like I’m just here to ask it. 

 

188 comments:

  1. I am the wife of a police officer and feel very much the same. I love how you said it better then I ever could

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second this.

      Delete
    2. Also I wife....high five sister!

      Delete
    3. I am also a police wife. You took the words right out of my mouth! Thank you for being brave enough to publicly share a conversation that takes place in our homes regularly. So well written!

      Delete
    4. Truer words have never been spoken.

      Delete
    5. So very well written and sooooooooooooooo true

      Delete
    6. I, too, was a wife of a RCMP police officer, he was killed in the line of duty, Feb 2004, in Spruce Grove AB. Thank you for saying what we all say to ourselves and our friends, but never see in the newspapers! MG

      Delete
    7. So VERY well said. Thank you from all of us RCMP wives. We hear you!

      Delete
    8. Another wife here, thank you for saying what we all believe and want to say :)

      Delete
    9. The recent incident witg an Alberta Sheriff being painted as a criminal because an honest to God criminal wrote a letter to tge paper is another perfect example. Well written piece, this is.
      Tony

      Delete
    10. Tammie - Langley BC17 August, 2013

      I am also the wife, mother, sister and aunt of police officers. Somewhere along the line we have taken the side of criminals instead of taking the side of the very ones protecting us. I have always said these same things to my friends but have never been able to really get the point across. You have just done that for all of us. So, I thank you.

      Delete
    11. I am only an every day person but am sick and tired off this trial by media but no accountability when they are wrong

      Delete
    12. Very well written :)

      Delete
    13. I am also a police officer's wife, and a police officer... These are very true words. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. I hope more people read this and may there eyes be opened.

      Delete
    14. well I can say this who cares one down a whole force to go if you didn't want it then why become the the assholes of the planet these are gun toting uneducated thugs who all need to go through more phsyc. evaluation before even being handed a gun ,, these kids of the video game area seem to think you have a badge its ok to instill fear and beat and call names and kick around,,and slam your face in the pavement. and just so you assholes know they been killing Indians for way to long\,, what did you think this would continue,,,,, I don't think so.... so all you cops out there when you draw your gun on a unarmed man woman or child and get the beat down well suck it up buttercup how many have you beat down in cuffs? bthis story rings no truth want a safe husband try one without a chip on his shoulder and one that doesn't need a badge to be a man ..... IDLE NO MORE....

      Delete
    15. And who has the chip on their shoulder here? Look in the mirror. It isn't going to be pretty, obviously.

      Delete
    16. Congratulations you just completely proved the writer's point. I can tell you first hand, being a female officer myself, the next time you need help you will be singing an extremely different tune.
      To the writer, thank you for telling our side. It certainly doesn't happen very often! It couldn't have been better said!

      Delete
    17. I am not a wife of a police officer, but as a paramedic of 20 years I have seen the good and the bad. What I can say with certainty, the good out weigh the bad and thank God for them!

      Delete
  2. Thank you Brittany. I too am the wife of a police officer and I don't feel they get defended often enough and seem to be the first ones to get criticized! Well said! Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very well said. Thank you for sharing your thoughts that echo many RCMP spouses as we are faced with this barrage of negativity towards the very people we love, respect, and know do a damn good job.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not married to one, but I work with many of them five days a week, 52 weeks a year for 16+ years. I will often have one or two or more sitting at my kitchen table for dinner. I tell them, "Be carefully out there." I love my "boys and girls" and pray they stay safe dealing with these non-Yahtzee playing people in our community! :-D

    Well written, Brittany. Good luck with your chosen career path!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks guys. I want to make it clear that while I studied media and journalism in University, and wrote briefly before starting a family, I am by no means claiming to be an authority on all things journalistic. I am simply referring to what I was taught in school and what I have observed after. In the effort of being completely transparent I felt that needed to be said. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am also married to a retired Member. I deal with people all the time that think and say negative things about police officers. My question to those people is who is the first people they call when in trouble? And did you ever think that after major incident that its the officers family that has to console him/her because the incident had a negative outcome and they are thinking if only they could have done more?
    There are a few bad apples in every job but the majority in this profession are there because they want to make a positive difference in our communities.

    ReplyDelete
  7. very well said! Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  8. On the 6:00 news today, they did a report about the police shooting in Cold Lake, then went on to talk about how there have been 3 deaths in Alberta in the last week and how the RCMP Commissioner says they need to re-evaluate some policies, including use of force, blah blah blah....basically painted the police as gun-wielding thugs power-tripping. Then in the next news piece, they mention that an officer is recovering in hospital after a violent traffic stop....oh but it's ok because "he is expected to make a full recovery." I almost threw my remote through the tv. Makes me sick!

    Great article, thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kurt Bosnell16 August, 2013

    I am a member and this is very, very well said. Thanks for this.

    Its a shame this article does not make the front page instead of buried in some editorial page. These are the days where I hate answering the simple question of "what do you do for work?" I usually lie and come up with some totally unrelated profession. Pretty sad.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This officer's story should have been front page news, and it shouldn't have taken two days for me, an officer in a neighbouring province, to hear about it. I'm hoping the officer makes a speedy recovery.

    Brittany, thank you for your unwavering support of all police officers. Yes, sometimes it does get overwhelming, and there are days when it seems the entire world is against law enforcement.

    I've been an officer for 18+ years and time has taught me that while the nay-sayers tend to be the most vocal about their dislike of police, those who support the police outnumber the haters by a large margin. They are the silent majority.

    Time has also taught me to not believe everything that the news broadcasts, as they often get it wrong. Which is why voices like yours are so important.

    Thanks again for supporting your officer.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agréé that the média has changed the opinion of the public, and I find it despicable and frightening. One of the things I fear is that it will draw unworthy people to the force, and it will cause even more problems.

      Delete
  11. How many other wives say "stay safe" everytime their husband goes to work? Or cannot sleep because their husband is going into his 22nd hour of life decision work without sleep? I sure hope my husband would shoot first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I say it every time he walks out the door to go to work!

      Delete
  12. This was also headlines all over social media; (FB, Twitter, etc.) Including on numerous radio stations right after it happened- Even CBC and CTV had it on the websites as breaking news when it happened. I hardly think it was not reported on or hard to find.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Google it and check the timeframe. I know because I searched like crazy when it happened and could only find a local outlet (Q99 news) who had reported it until two days after the incident happened. That's when they started looking for the suspect.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Not sure where my other reply went. But They were looking for the suspects immediately after- I don't mean to come and be rude; just trying to help by correcting the info so you are accurate. There was no two day delay in trying to find the assailant or to make the public aware.
    CBC had it timestamped at 10:36 MTN on Wed. CTV just after. I agree with the rest of the sentiment, good work! Things sure have changed these last few years.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry the comments section sometimes spams things... Yes I'm sorry I think we sort of misunderstood each other. I know they were looking for the assailant right away, my comment only meant to illustrate that unless you lived in this local area, it didn't really make headlines until the story broke they were still looking for the suspect. A police officer hurt hardly makes news these days was the sentiment behind that statement. Thanks for fact checking.. Although I have to say bad guys seem to make headline news much more quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with Brittany. While the initial news of an officer being injured was in the news (I only knew about it from a FB link at first), I had no idea the severity of it until this post. It was NOT widely reported at all.

      Delete
  16. I am married to a 7 year member of the RCMP and just would like to say to those that criticize the actions of a police officer "if you think you can do a better job by all means do it, were you there? was it you hopeing that youll be able to go home to your kids and spouse at the end of the day?" "You weren't the member who had to make a split second decision, him or me!"

    ReplyDelete
  17. there will always be rotten apples in every barrel !!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. It is sad, I agree hole heatedly. The truth of the matter is, if you're not breaking the law and forcing a cop to make life defending decisions then you most likely won't get killed by one.

    That being said, if you want to do drugs or rob people or stores and you want to confront an officer with ANY sort of weapon (I don't care if it's a stick or a gun)you should prepare to get tazed and or shot. I personally do not expect any officer to die because they didn't want to hurt someone.

    It's also time for parents and/or families to acknowledge what their kid or relative really was, like a drugged out criminal or enraged person that posed a threat to someone's life.

    ReplyDelete
  19. As a former student of journalism myself, and as someone who works closely with police, and has friends on various forces, I cannot agree more with you. The arm chair analysts making ridiculous claims about what police should do in these high pressure situations without any knowledge just drives me nuts. Yes, there are bad police officers, like in all professions, but the majority of them are wonderful members of our communities who keep us safe and can be counted on in the worst circumstances. Fantastic article.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bravo !!!!!! Excellent ! Well delivered. Thank you for writing.
    I'm a mother of a police officer and pray every day for safety for all of our fine officers.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am the mother of two police officers. well said

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have been a police officer's wife for 37 years. You have said perfectly what we wives and our husbands have said for many years....many years ago our next door neighbour who was also an officer, in the same division, was beaten and left at the side of the road also. It never hit the papers, and when the CRIMINAL was finally arrested and brought to trial for his crimes, the beating was never mentioned.
    Recently in Toronto an officer used deadly force on a young man in a streetcar. The young man ( and I use the word "man" loosely) was brandishing a knife, he was told repeatedly to drop his weapon, refused repeatedly and was finally shot. The media has released video footage which is bad enough, but they have incited the people, calling for reforms..... But worse of all the officer involved has been suspended with pay.... not placed on leave..... SUSPENDED!..... this is implying he has done something wrong. The chief in Toronto is not standing tall beside his officer.
    The young man killed, was another find upstanding young man.... yada yada yada..... why then did he have a knife? Why was he so terrifying to the bus passengers...When did the police officers become the bad guy???
    My heart goes out daily to all the officers keeping us safe, and their wives who are home, listening for the safe return of their man after his shift.
    When did our wonderful, kind, caring husbands become the bad guys?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points that a good guy shouldn't have a knife. Sure totally agreed, now even if this person was the worse of persons. Why was he shot 6 times(1 or 2 shouldn't have been enough?), and why was he supposedly tasered after being shot, if this had in fact happened. Now next, police officers are suppose to be trained marksman with their guns to some level of competency, why didn't they shoot him in the arm/shoulder/leg as opposed to fatal shots? Obviously neither of us were there so its hard to comment on the situation, i am simply just curious. I think regardless of whether the person was an outstanding citizen or a hardened criminal its more how the events supposedly went down which are in question not because of who was shot dead.

      Delete
    2. How come nobody is asking MCLEAN family what they thinks of the actions of the Toronto Police Officer? Why is the media not bring up the incident where Mr. Tim Mclean had his head cut off by a guy with "just a knife">

      Delete
    3. Police officers are taught to 'stop the threat.' It is very hard to shoot a moving target at any time, let alone making the decision to shoot someone in the heat of the moment, and it would be almost impossible to shoot someone in the arm or leg in that situation. Centre mass is what police officers are taught to aim at, as that is the most likely way to actually make contact with the target and stop the threat.

      I'm not defending what the police officers did in this particular situation as I was not there and cameras don't always tell the whole story. I'm just explaining why police officers don't aim for someone's hand. If the person was lunging at them with the knife then they can cover the distance in a very short period of time and there may not be time for that kind of aiming.

      Delete
    4. In a controlled non emergency situation shooting a firearm ie practice shooting you have the time to aim and pull the trigger with some accuratcy. However when you heart is racing during an emergency situation and your body is shaking it is near impossible to aim for small target areas. Remember, stray bullets will go through metal and possibly hit an innocent bystander near the active attacker. Centre mass gives you a larger area to stop the threat. One or two bullets may not stop the attacker. You hear in the news all the time gang members being shot one or two times and walk away. You shot until the threat is stopped. Any injured person can still pull a trigger if they have a gun. Or a knife they can still take a swing at you if they are wounded.

      Someone else mentioned about the move over law im Ontario. By human nature people like to look at what is happening when their are emergency lights. Historically you drive where you are looking....and where are they looking right into the police cruiser. It have happened numerous times people driving into the parked police cars because thay are looking at the likes or what is happening.

      A second reason for the move over law is not every traffic stop is safe. If they is a confrontation or struggle between the officer and the person that has been stopped the fight is not bound to the shoulder area. It may spill over to an active driving lane thus a possibilty of being hit by a passing car. People who are just changing a tire will not walk into a live traffic lane

      Delete
  23. I am not married to a police officer. Every day thousands of people get into life threatening situations. They lie at the side of the road after being hit by drunk drivers, they are have accidents at work, they are robbed at gun point. Every day. Thousands and thousands.

    Police are an important part of society and they risk their lives to do their jobs. There are many other jobs out there where people risk their lives as well.

    For example, I really dislike that we have a law in Ontario about having to change lanes when a police or emergency vehicle is pulled over. What if a person is changing a flat tire? Because they aren't a police officer they don't get that protection? The law should be "if somebody is pulled over, change lanes to give them space."

    I understand you all have personal stories about RCMP or other police, but try not to be so selfish. Being a police officer does not make somebody a better or more important human being.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, if you read what was written, the author was asking for officers to be treated fairly in the media, not to get special treatment.

      As for the move over law in Ontario, it is in place to create a safe work environment for officers who must stop on the highway. Protection laws are required for health and safety reasons by the employer (in this case, the province).

      Nobody says a police officer is better or more important than anyone else. They knowingly and willingly put themselves in harm's way to create or maintain a safe society.

      And yes, I an a police officer and have been for more than 25 years.

      Delete
    2. please also note that in SK you need to slow down and pull over if possible for all emergency vehicles and construction crew for safety purposes. Not for special treatment but because these people are putting their lives at risk by working on the roads every day. Some emergency crews and road crews have been killed doing their job which is why finally the law is trying to do something to protect them. If someone is on the side of the road changing a tire they are supposed to put out cautionary items like orange cones, flashing lights for their safety.

      Delete
    3. Really? Yes, as human beings we should all be courteous to one another in situations like that - and pull to the other lane. Because it's a HUMAN thing to do. To be kind.

      Puffing your chest out and being annoyed that "police officers get special treatment" by having it be a LAW that people pull over, shows more of the indignant attitude held by society that shows you think you are somehow owed something.

      Seriously, my husband puts his life on the line every time he pulls over someone on the highway. How many times have you pulled over to change a flat tire in your lifetime??

      Delete
    4. Sorry, but people are killed on the side of the road all the time. Tell your story to the mother whose son is killed when he was fixing a flat tire. I bet she won't care what he did for a living.

      Delete
  24. Everyone should know the media likes to put their own spin on any story - what isn't said has to be read between the lines - leaving the public to basically draw their own conclusions about "what happened" - but what really gets me are the very negative comments from the public that follow these stories - not negative comments about how the media reported it, but negative comments about the police - yes, the police have been in the news quite frequently in the past few weeks - but who are we to judge any police officer when we don't really know what took place - we, the public in general, were not there to see what happened - yet many who comment have already made the police officer in question the guilty one - but boy, when they need the police it's a totally different story - as a retired dispatcher for the police I can testify to the fact that some people who call the police for help continually run them down while they are on the phone asking for help from them, my question to them was "did you call the police for help or did you call to condemn them, that it would make a big difference as to whether or not I dispatched an officer to help you", the general answer to that was "I need the police right now, not 2 hrs from now" - there are many "police haters" out there but who do they call when they need help - yep - the police. The general public need to walk a mile in a police officers shoes before they "spout off" about the police, it is not a "walk in the park" job by any means - they never know what they will face when responding to a call for help. It's not only the media that paint a bleak picture of the police, the general public plays a big hand in it as well - all I can say is try going for a "ride-a-long" on a busy Friday/Saturday night and see what they have to put up with from the general public, actually on any given day or night. Police officers are human just the same as the rest of us - nobody is perfect even though there are those who think they are - everyone makes mistakes whether they wear a police officers uniform or not -- and just remember this - "you give the police officer attitude, most times you will get attitude back", and rightly so. Police officers have families as well, they have children, these families and children read the "nasty derogatory" comments people post on social media pages. How would you, as a person who doesn't like the police, feel if you had to read these comments if they were about you? Probably not very good right??? The media needs to start reporting more on the good things the majority of the police officers do in connection with their jobs, like their involvement with coaching hockey, baseball etc etc etc - their involvement with the schools and different charity groups -- they are no different than the rest of us out there. I'm not putting police officers on a pedestal by any means, there are bad apples in every bunch, but one bad apple doesn't make them all as a whole, bad apples. Instead of "putting them down" all the time, try thinking about what they have to put up with and what occurs before something bad happens - it's not like they respond to something with guns blazing, the general public has no idea how long they have to put up with someone that has a knife or a gun pointed at them before they make what sometimes has to be a fatal decision, or end up having to use force to take a person down. Common sense from the general public about a police officers job needs to be used more before a decision that "he or she is a bad police officer" - again, when you aren't there to see what happened, you have no right in making judgement calls until you know all the facts.

    ReplyDelete
  25. we are the parents of a police officer and love your article very well said.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm also an RCMP wife in Alberta and you have beautifully captured my thoughts and concerns. Thank you for putting this out there.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm also an RCMP wife in Alberta and you have beautifully captured my thoughts and concerns. Thank you for putting this out there.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Last night i was tazered twice at a yahtzee and herbal tea party! Also i am an RCMP wife. Crazy coincidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! We should be friends!

      Delete
  29. Hi, I am not related to anyone in the RCMP nor to I have any friends in the RCMP. I read your blog because the link was shared on a friend's facebook page. I found this interesting and well written. I am in my early 30's in BC and know many people who also speak badly of the police. I can't speak as to whether they had bad experiences dealing with them, know of someone who has had bad experiences dealing with them, or read about bad experiences in the media. I believe that many people tend to remember that bad and not the good (selective memory)and can even imprint or exaggerate someone else's experience as their own. People need to think before they read or watch something in the media and form their own opinion instead of simply accepting it as a fact.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My brother is rcmp his wife posted this article, he worries me. I have been accosted by one cop while minding my own business (sober and quietI might add), she stained every good encounter with police I had. Her supervisor stepped in and rescued me.I shouldn't have to stay home and play yahtzee to avoid that experience.

    My brother shouldn't be a cop because his idea of fairness is "might makes right" I don't hate the police or wish them ill, but they are not getting a bum wrap for barely being held accountable.

    I remember the time before cell phone camera's when the fine boys and girls of the rcmp denied the sort of incidents and behavior we now have ample footage of.

    Well there are good cops and bad, but the rcmp's reputation is not being ruined by the media.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well............said...........

      Delete
    2. When was the last time someone posted a video of all the good incidences involving members, the community work, the files where a member saved a victim...the media nor the public share these stories and THEY DO EXSIST! The media most definitely is helping with the publics negative perception of police officers. The videos most widely shared are of cops at the worst moment on the worst day of their lives (for the most part). That one incident where everything goes wrong, by judgement or force...yet cops are all tarred with the same brush. Shame on you for falling in with the crowd and assuming that the force is ruining its own reputation - obviously you get your facts from the media.

      Delete
    3. I'll bite here.

      The RCMP did their share to ruin their own reputation. If Robert Dziekanski's incident wasn't videotaped then we wouldn't be any wiser.

      Police is there to uphold the law, they are paid for that, they are paid for risk they take. No I do not suggest that they are paid to die, but they go into the service with the full knowledge of the risk. They are trained to make 'split-seconds' decision. They are provided special protection under the law (harsher sentence for attacking the police officer), but they are also hold to higher level of character. If they cannot handle the pressure of their job, they should not be doing it. I know I am not cut to do it.

      Perhaps they require more training on how to de-escalate the situation (example Dziekanski's case or recent Toronto streetcar incident) or just follow the training they already have.

      Our police in Canada is way better that what you find in other countries (US included), perhaps with exception of UK and Scandinavia.

      Society needs police (sheep, wolfs, sheep-dogs), but also needs a way of making sure that police itself is not above the law. It is always a balancing act.

      my 2cents

      Delete
  31. I am the wife of a retired RCMP member and the mother and aunt of two other peace officers. The situations these members are put in every day that the regular citizen has no idea even occurs unless it makes the media! Thank you for your article!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Very well written. Thankyou

    ReplyDelete
  33. I would like to speak up for the journalists here. As a veteran reporter at a major media outlet, I have years of experience fighting with police, courts, and government for information. I also have three family members in the service, and my best friend is a police officer as well. Cops are good people who put their lives on the line for us every single day. I respect and admire them.

    What people don't understand is that police DEPARTMENTS are so highly secretive and impenetrable that reporters have no choice but to seek and publish basic information from wherever we can get it. Why don't we report the police officer beaten and left in a ditch? Because media relations people won't confirm or deny. Why do we rely on witness accounts at the scene of a crime? Because media relations personnel won't release even the most basic information, like, say, what happened. Internal disciplinary proceedings for bad apples are supposed to be public, but the force has done everything in its power to make them as secretive as possible. Police routinely misinterpret privacy laws to stop the release of information - the reality is they don't understand the privacy laws, and don't care to. Add to that the police officer's code of silence and reporters have no hope of getting information from the people who have the best of it. In some parts of the province, police who are quoted or pictured in the media have to buy a round of drinks for their fellow officers. That's some expensive disincentive!

    Keep in mind that reporters, too, are doing their jobs. Say you hear terrifying gunshots in your neighbourhood and rumours are flying about how six people were killed by an uzi. Or a big blast rattles your house and cracks your walls, and destroys an entire house two streets over. Or three doors down you see ambulances, police cars and yellow tape, and then they roll out three bodies covered in plastic, and two appear to be children. This is your community, this is where you live, you want to know what happened, right? So we reporters go out and do that for you. We spend *all day* trying to get to the bottom of it. Often, we call police dozens of times for each story, begging and pleading for information, seeking to confirm information gathered from other sources (like neighbours), trying to give you the best possible information. The police release no information, so we get it where we can.

    I know all of the reporters in my city. With very few exceptions they - like the police officers I know - work extraordinarily hard to do their jobs. This means bringing quality information to the people who read their newspapers, websites and watch their newscasts. Secretive police services consistently undermine the quality of news coverage, and there is nothing a reporter can do about that.

    I think people need to ask themselves serious questions about accountability. We as Canadian citizens give police officers the authority to carry guns around in our community, and tasers, and batons. We give them the power to use physical violence against other citizens, if they need to. They have the power to take away our freedom! These are absolutely extraordinary powers. As a result, police services need to be held accountable. The way we do that in democratic society is partly through the media. Albertans and Canadians have a right to information about what the police are doing, and, unfortunately, police departments and the media relations people who work for them act like they are accountable to no one.

    This should concern us all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was waiting for this comment. I understand the importance of the media and journalists to shed light on dark place. To get stories out to fellow Canadians as they happen. I know you know the privacy act well enough to understand why the police cannot give you information other than important details pertaining to what the public needs to know. They could lose their jobs for leaking personal information to the media, and I think Canadians would be happy to know details are hard to work out of police officers when pressed by media.
      Just like you with police, I have best friends in the media.. national ranked journalists whom I have had this conversation with as well. They work just as hard you said, and are passionate (as am I!!) about making sure those who abuse power or make mistakes that put the public at risk MUST BE held accountable. I stated that clearly in the article.
      Here's what I take issue with in the media, and you reinforced in your comment. That police today are the big bad bogey man and they MUST be doing something terribly devious that we don't know about. It's the standard go-to slant, and it's just so.. overly taken.
      All I am asking is that in a case where you don't know the other half, (because police and privacy have deemed them not pertinent) you fight the urge to eulogize the suspect in attempt to get the story, thus making the police look like bad guys.. yet again.

      Delete
    2. Really you have a right to the story and if you can't get the true story of what happened you will print whatever the heck you want? And some how you justify that as quality reporting. I have a brother who is a journalist, I myself am in law enforcement and we have an understanding he will print whatever I tell him but he doesn't get to ask cause he knows I can't say anything. The reason being it has nothing to do with be secretive or private or hiding facts. If an investigation is in progress the police aren't going to release information. Would you like the police to release to you all the information they have just to have you turn around report it and let the suspect who the police have not yet caught realize they are on to him and take off? Once the police investigation is done and the people responsible are caught then you will get all the details. If not from media relation you are more than welcome to attend court and sit in and hear all the facts as they are presented. Last point the biggest reason that Police are reluctant to release information to the media is because they take a snippet of info from here and a bit from there throw it together and make the story way bigger than it needs to be just so people will read their paper or watch their news broadcast. You say police need to ask question about accountability right after saying that you will report the story from a neighbour that has no idea who, what, or why. Doesn't sound like you are being very accountable to your audience or readers.

      Delete
    3. Brittany, I just want to clarify that I don't think police are big bad boogey men, perhaps I wasn't clear in my comment, but that's not what I meant at all. Further to that, I have to say that I don't know a single reporter who thinks that, and it is definitely not the way police are perceived in my newsroom. You have to remember that police and journalists both experience these collision and crime scenes, and we both know the real-life horror and devastation that people experience, first-hand. Most in society don't see these things up close and so, in real life, there is compassion and respect for the work they do. It's simply not true that journalists think police are bad. It's just not true.

      What I was trying to say is just that police have an incredible amount of power. Real, hardcore power. Guns. Tasers. Handcuffs. Power over people, citizens, human beings. As a society we give them that power because we need them to protect us from people who do harm in our society - those who steal, traffick, kill. I never said it was too much power, or that they shouldn't have it. They should. We ask them to do this for us, and they take on inconceivable risks in doing so. (I, for one, can't imagine doing that job.) But with this incredible power comes responsibility. Police must be accountable. Part of the way this happens is through the media.

      Also, I happen to be an expert in freedom of information and privacy law. I have read the law front-to-back many many times, along with the regulations and much of the supporting case law. I live and breathe this access-to-information battle all day, every day. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that the police can release much, much more information than they do and still be *well* within the constraints of the law. The training they are given is extraordinarily limited and most police officers come away believing that that cannot say anything to reporters, ever, without risking their jobs. And it's one thing for front-line officers to believe this, it is quite another when the actual media communications liaisons don't have the faintest clue about access-to-information laws. Which is ironic, if you think about it, since they're supposed to be enforcing the law. Anyway, the result is that they always err on the side of total secrecy. And you just can't blame reporters for that. You can't.

      And for the record, I'm not talking about personal names and dates of birth here. I'm talking about information that directly affects the community, like what happened, and where, and to whom. I'll give you an example. I once called a rural RCMP detachment that was deployed at a scene where a man in a hotel with a gun was holed up and occasionally shooting at people. People in nearby homes had been evacuated. Every person in the small town was standing at the yellow line waiting, trying to find out what was happening. Gossip was running rampant. People were terrified. They wanted to know what was happening in their community.

      We had a reporter on the scene, so we had good information coming in from the location. Of course police can't tell you a whole bunch about an incident while it's ongoing, because they're busy actually working and often they don't know themselves. But we were about to publish a preliminary story online and I was looking to confirm the start time for the incident. That basic information is readily available in the police dispatch system, and releasing it is not in violation of any law.

      The media spokeswoman DENIED THAT ANYTHING WAS HAPPENING.

      I'm not kidding, and this kind of thing is not uncommon for reporters to encounter. How can this possibly be justified? Who is served by this ridiculous level of secrecy? Certainly not the citizens of that community, that's for sure, and last I checked, those are the people who gave police all that power in the first place.



      Delete
    4. I wonder if the media would allow the public to see all of the internal dicipline data from within their companies just like that which they demand from Police Forces. Perhaps then, the credibility of those doing the reporting would come into question. Perhaps that's why CBC won't release theirs as requested. Police officers are human beings and prone to errors just like anyone else. In turn, it is fair to expect them to be accountable. Who holds the media accountable????? Nobody can afford the six figures it takes to launch a civil suit. The media sit on their moral high ground without ever looking in the mirror. An officer can do something wrong and it's on the front page for weeks. A media person can commit a criminal offence like sexual assault and you're lucky if it's on page 6 of the paper for more than one day. The media used to report the news not make the news. Like John Mayers says in his song 'Waiting on the world to change,' - "When they own the information they can bend it all they want." Because of that I don't believe anything the media reports other than the outcome of sporting events. The police don't speak to you because everything they say you bend and manipulate to support whatever angle you want. It makes me laugh when I see the media doing articles about bullying when the reality is that they are the biggest bullies in the world. Case in point Sgt Pierre Lemaitre's suicide. When you assassinate someone's character you take away their hope. The world is full of mirrors, look in one.

      Delete
    5. Just to raise awareness of a Police Officer making a statement with regard to anything about to be reported in the paper, other than what can be made public, leaves himself open for those comments to be used against him in a court of law. We all know how words are often twisted and taken out of context. For the Police Officer's legal protection it is best to remain silent until after the court proceedings. A Police Officer does not receive special treatment but is held accountable for every action he takes. Not so when a doctor removes the wrong leg or a healthy breast etc. Or when a Postal worker delivers your mail to the wrong address and you never find out about it. Or when a Dentist removes the wrong tooth and you develop a serious bacterial infection. Or when a politician is picked up for impaired driving. Life goes on for these people no one holds them accountable or paints the whole group with tar and feathers as is done with a Policeman.
      Thank you to every Police Officer out there you are there should I need you. Keep Safe!

      Delete
  34. What I would like to see in the media is the awards ceremonies that the RCMP hold to honor those officers that go above and beyond! My husband has received two of these honors, but you don't see that on the front page of the paper, do you? Maybe if the public saw these types of articles more often the negative light that the RCMP is shown in so often would be countered. The RCMP needs a good PR overhaul.
    Thank-you for writing what most RCMP wives are thinking.

    Stay safe,
    An RCMP wife

    ReplyDelete
  35. so very true Brittany thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have known many wonderful police officers. I have also had the misfortune to meet some really "bad apples" as you put it. One of those bad apples came to our home one day, and loudly yelling at my four young daughters (ages 4 to 9), accused them of a neighborhood robbery (which no one had witnessed). He did it with his police radio on, and people all over town heard it on their scanners. He grabbed them physically and dragged them into the house, then went on yelling at me, and told the girls he was going to throw them in jail if they didn't tell him where they put the stuff. Later that day, another officer caught the 17 year old boy who had done the robbery. I asked (nicely) for the police officer to come and apologize to my very traumatized children. I was told by his superior, "We don't do that. We stand by our officers." I asked for an announcement to be made over their radio apologizing for the accusations made against my children earlier over their radio (people all over town were phoning and asking for details about the robbery). "We don't do that. We stand by our officers." My children are now adults, and they still avoid the police. They do not believe what I tried to tell them: "The police are your friend." All this to say: Yes there are good officers - the majority are, in my experience. BUT PLEASE, DO NOT STAND BY THE BAD APPLES! MAKE THEM PUBLICLY FOR THE THINGS THEY DO WRONG. AND IF THEY WON'T CHANGE, GET RID OF THEM. It is the bad apples that cause the bad press. Please, please, please deal with them, don't stand by them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If a police officer physically grabbed dragged your 4-9 year old children then you should have filed a complaint and had him arrested for assault. I can't imagine any police officer, even a "bad apple", yelling at and physically dragging a 4 year old.

      Delete
  37. I am both a reporter and a member's wife and feel so enraged lately as well. On the one hand, there are irresponsible journalists and editors who go for the throat, paint all mounties with the same brush, and make them seem like bad guys. not cool. As you said, there are sometimes bad apple cops too, who should be held accountable, and inquiries anytime the use of force is employed. These are necessary checks and balances to ensure the people who uphold are laws are just as accountable as the rest of us. I take issue with the "all media are biased" and "media hate police" statements just as much as I hate the "cops are brutal thugs" and "cops are evil", because those are all blanket statements that do nothing to serve a greater good: understanding. Reporters are people trying to do a job, cops are people trying to do a job. I am disheartened by the growing polarity between cops and media, especially when I am caught between both worlds and have felt the sting of exclusion from the police community because of the job I work.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I too am a wife of an officer.. And also work as a dispatcher.. This article is very well written.. It's nice to see someone stand up for the officers once and awhile.. If only citizens could walk a mile in our shoes.. It's a dangerous world out there and getting more so as the years go by..the bad media publicity sure doesn't help.. We need to be painted in a much better picture :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am the friend of several members of the RCMP. They are good people and I would assume good police officers, I have never dealt with them at work therefore cannot comment on that side of their lives. I do agree that there is good and bad in every aspect of life. Just because you are a police officer, a firefighter, a priest, teacher or any other profession that is held in higher regard, does not mean you can or should be treated differently nor torn down/held in higher regard in the media. The facts are the FACTS and that is what should be reported regardless! I agree reporters should not be printing second and third hand gossip. I agree that if the police want to improve their rap in the media they will have no choice but to speak up sooner rather than later. I understand that there are reasons they are secretive, but surely there is away to give a little more information without jeopardising the criminal investigation? I for one appreciate that there are people out there willing to protect me at the risk or personal injury and even death.

    ReplyDelete
  40. PART ONE
    I am not the wife or family member of a police officer. I am however a community member who is impressed with the diligent, hardworking, caring officers that work in our communities. How many of us would go to a job everyday, put in 100% to be called down publically daily.
    I take my hat off to the family of the officers that support them daily. I can not imagine the stress of not knowing if they will be home for dinner.

    I am saddened by he media backlash that officers receive daily. We have seen many incidents in the news that have shown what looks like unwarranted violence towards a victim. What we do not see is the hours leading to the incident, the belligerence, the comments, the spitting in the face, the threats the officer and the violence that has lead up to it. We react with emotion to what we see because that is there response the reporter wants you to feel. Was reporting and dramatizing the incident in the best interest of society or was it detrimental. The are trying to satisfy the viewing pleasure of people who are driven by the violence shown. It would be best not to dramatize such acts, maybe then the police would be supported when trying to crack tough cases. That respect, admiration for the jobs of an officer would remain a society standard. The media has made it so the relationship between society and the RCMP is broken. This has been emphasized by the media reports. I do agree they work very hard to report a story, they have numerous road blocks but it would be nice to see a whole story.

    It is hard as a family member to have someone you love involved with the wrong side of the law. I myself have been in this situation. But get so upset when people try say " he was a nice guy", " he was a good father" or " he doesn't deserve this". If the accused was such a nice guy he or she would not be interacting with the law the way they are. In the latest cast A "nice" guy does not beat and strangle another individual and leave them in the ditch to die. The point in the whole case is not that it was just a police officer, but rather that it was a human being that was assaulted and left injured, unattended to succumb to his injuries. A "nice" guy would pick the man up and get him help, not be the reason for pain and suffering.I am saddened at the reaction of many people that interacted with the reports of such violence, there was not shock, terror or anger, instead reacted without emotion, does this mean as a society we are becoming desensitized by such horrific acts.

    I was relieved to hear that with diligence and hard work there had been an arrest made.I pray that the work is supported by the rest of the judicial system. Too many times officers cross all their t's, dot all their i's and do what needs to be done, only to find that the rest of the system does not support their efforts. I pray that the powers that be find it in the best interest of the community to actually support the arrest of the officers by having consequence for the accused.

    As a community member during this case it was frustrating and scary to not find any information out about the case or the accused for such a long time. Living close by it would have been better to have been able to find some update. I understand why certain information could not be released but was hard not to find out anything. This man was a danger to community members and I am so thankful nobody else was hurt in this incident. I understand why the information was not reported to the media as it would have damaged the investigation. Since then the reports have been limited because it would have negative affects on the case as it comes to trial.

    ReplyDelete
  41. part two
    I agree there needs to be accountability in society for all involved. I do not that we have given to much power to officers. These individuals go in to our communities every day not knowing what lies ahead. The selflessly do this to try to help create a better society. I am not threatened that there is a feeling that officers have the power to take away my freedom. If I am the kind of citizen that stays on the right side of the law I feel this is of no concern to me. I think the statement that they are not accountable to no one is pretty bold. I believe they are accountable to many and held to a higher standard than most citizens. They are accountable to themselves to make many right decisions daily that keep them safe, help protect society, and their decisions are not made in haste. Secondly they are accountable to their families that they return daily, that their actions do not put them in harms way and every decision is in their families best interest. The are accountable to society that they put the best interest of the majority above individual interests using personal judgement to ensure this is done. The are accountable to the judicial system so that all the work done prior to court is done efficiently and correctly. They are accountable to the media to give only the pertinent information because by releasing the wrong information the case can become stale. If they report to much they would be condemned by media and society for infringing on personal freedoms.

    I appreciate the efforts of the officers and send love and prayers to their families.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I work at a motor licensing office in Saskatchewan. Today I had a "gentleman" in my office renewing his driver's license. He very calmly told me that cops are such assholes he really cant blame the guys that kill them. The most shocking part was that this guy in his 70s said it as casually as commenting on the weather. With the lack of respect out there for law enforcement officers, it quite frankly TERRIFIES me that my daughter plans on becoming on RCMP officer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow!! And this is where our younger generation learns it from. =(

      Delete
    2. I am in my 70,s and I can agree somewhat with the gentleman,s comment,( not the killing part) in my day RCMP and police officers were very well respected. They were required to be more mature when their training started, and training was 2years not 6 months. When you were approached by the police it was done with respect on both sides. Not enough training for police members and this huge sense of entitlement that is currently being displayed by both sides media and the RCMP/ Police they are dealing with seems to only compound the problems that exist.

      Delete
    3. Training has never been 2 years for RCMP officers. It was 6 months and then about 3 more months of riding instruction. Then they were placed in the field with instructors for another 6 months.

      The only difference today is there is no longer riding instruction. The officers do 6 months at Depot and then 6 months in the field with a qualified trainer.

      Delete
    4. I think the statement about members having to be more mature to enter training may also be inaccurate. I don't the exact statistics but it does seem that the average age of members when they go to Depot is higher than it was years ago.

      Delete
    5. Yes, that is true. While the requirements to enter Depot haven't changed (19 years old and high school diploma), there are very few cadets that meet those bare minimums anymore. I believe the average age for entering Depot is around 28 now. The RCMP likes people to have life experience before they join, whether that is through working in a different career or through higher education.

      Delete
    6. Well as a 21 year serving member who is 41 years old. It depends on the person. I was very mature and was hired on those qualities. Society has drastically changed in my 21 years. There are more drugs, gangs and over all violence in society. People don't have to talk to each other anymore, technology does. Our society has become so de sensitized by tv, movies and video games. You can't live in the past and judge the present by those beliefs. Also I am a women and I would haven't been able to be a police officer years ago. I would still be a stay at home mom (which is a honorable job too) if we lived in the past

      Delete
  43. I get that everyone wants their spouses to come home after a shift, and I get that there are some bad apples and that doesn't necessarily spoil the barrel. But, really, what's happening out there? Why are there, all of a sudden, so many cases of police officers killing and beating people in Alberta? Just in Alberta? Is there something in the water? And don't forget to factor in the percieved gun grabs in Slave Lake and High River. The end result is that the public's perception is what it is, and not really for no apparent reason either. So, I didn't walk a mile in that officer's shoes, but I gotta say if I'm travelling in Alberta and get pulled over, should I be praying that this isn't this particular officers' day to decide that he's had enough of his job, or maybe the last 3 people he pulled over gave him attitude and he's going to take it out on me? These things happen, as they happen on any job, and the failure is in the police forces' not dealing with these issues publicly. It is the public, after all, that these officers are serving and paying their way, and ultimatly the ones they have to answer to. And speaking as a member of the public, I've gotta say they haven't been. That's why the media and the public is beating up on the RCMP. If they simply stepped up and justified some of their actions, instead of just taking the attitude of "hey, we're the police, trust us", maybe people would start to trust them again. But when they simply ignore these questions, or issue press releases that are patently ignoring the issues or blatantly lying (High River) the force loses credibility. You want to do something constructive? Pressure the brass to come clean about these things, stop giving members passes simply because of their uniforms, and if someone screws up punish them! The public will trust those who are trustworthy, and the image issue the RCMP has in Alberta is not totally unwarranted, from the opinion of a media watcher from Saskatchewan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You need to get a grip on reality.
      Seriously if you think that removing guns from insecure premises to safeguard them from the "bad apples" is a bad thing then I hope you work at mcdonalds and not in any form of a decision making role.
      Next time someone steals your car or kidnapps your child, call a plumber. You are the definition of a joke.

      Delete
  44. Perhaps much of this discourse needs to be laid where it belongs, firmly on the desks of our lawmakers and the Legal system. The police must feel so frustrated sometimes when they try to do their jobs and the lawyers and judges destroy everything they did and let people who are guilty as sin - off! The judicial system certainly has it's good points but sometimes it needs a good shaking! The guy or girl out on the street trying their best everyday, to enforce what the lawmakers have determined, get the bad end of the stick. I think we as citizens need to stop flapping our gums and read between the lines and have a little compassion! I've seen police officers go out of their way to be polite and caring when - if it had been me - well, they would not have been standing for long!!! The media is so quick to point fingers, and sometimes just to get that story they will point at the wrong people. Generally, many problems originate because of alcohol and who supplies the alcohol? Our government! Gee!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I respect the police and agree it is a difficult and stressful job. I have good friends in the RCMP and have watched the pre-shift hugs with the protective vest and holster reminding everybody of the potential for violence. Obviously there are good cops and bad cops and the overwhelming majority are fine. But as a member of the public I am often disappointed by the closing of the ranks along the thin blue line when an error or outright criminal violence has been perpetrated by a bad cop. And police families know how often the private reaction of fellow officers is along the lines of "they were an accident waiting to happen", yet the public demeanour is support or no comment. I see the good cops realize there job is primarily assisting the public with safety, helping people with behavior problems, the mentally ill, etc. Great cops calmly diffuse situations that could easily but uneccessarily escalate into violence. My desire is longer probation and peer review and weeding out the less suitable members who just don't have the necessary emotional and mental makeup to carry and if necessary use deadly force. As for biased reporting I agree with you - and know of many instances of occupational injuries to police usually from having some physical contest to bring a suspect under control. As for extreme violence any amount is unacceptable but it is my understanding contrary to perceptions created by the bombarding media stream, violent crime has been in almost constant decline for decades. Final thought - thabk you to you, your spouse and all the police families out there who suffer a lot of worry and stress in service of the public. It is an honorable vocation to be sure.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Quoting this comment from above:

    "Anonymous17 August, 2013

    I work at a motor licensing office in Saskatchewan. Today I had a "gentleman" in my office renewing his driver's license. He very calmly told me that cops are such assholes he really cant blame the guys that kill them. The most shocking part was that this guy in his 70s said it as casually as commenting on the weather. With the lack of respect out there for law enforcement officers, it quite frankly TERRIFIES me that my daughter plans on becoming on RCMP officer."

    Here's the thing, if that old man had said that about another race or sexual orientation, he'd be held accountable. Yet an old man says something horrific like that about police officers and no one does a thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I had a few things to say to him. I doubt it was effective but I said them anyway. He left my office in a snit. Mumbling about what a bitch I am. If that makes me a bitch then I will claim that title proudly. :)

      Delete
  47. Brittany....I thank you for your words and your loyal support to your husband and his brotherhood. Your thoughts are honourable and I use to be like you.
    I will try to make my words count and not be *empty* with what I am about to say though. I too was married to an RCMP and in that inner circle for 17 years. By inner circle, I am referring to the family/friends of RCMP and who are grateful for the things they do to keep us all safe without praise like firemen etc. are well known for receiving. Now,having said that; I am now out from under the *Dome* and not clouded by the influence of the everyday comments I was fed by the RCMP including my husband and all his brotherhood of men. I am now living amongst the average Joe Schmucks of the world (I call them this, as this is how the inner circle brainwashed us wife's and family to think about anyone who was not a member or part of their family)
    Are these men and women stellar people who uphold the law for us??.......absolutely!! Have these men and women also taken advantage of the power they also have been bestowed with at times....absolutely!!
    I guess I am just trying to say that I have been there and now I am not. I can now clearly see how so many of the RCMP feel a certain entitlement. The previous person stated that they now have to be accountable for their actions now that technology is a witness to more things than not. I believe the force's members have not changed over the years by getting better or worse, but they should simply not take advantage of this power they do hold.

    So while you applaud them and sing their praises.....I simply remind you that while sometimes the good they do often does go unnoticed for sure..........remember they are simply people just like all of us(not tin gods) They should remember that the next time they find themselves using more force than they know in their heart they needed to......they know who they are.
    An RCMP Widow

    ReplyDelete
  48. I have a daughter and her husband in the Force. I couldn't have written an article more accurate than Brittany's. I have the utmost of respect for the work the RCMP do daily and I have a prayer on my lips that my family members come home safe and sound each day. Come on people, show the respect the RCMP deserve, it may be one of your own that they save today!

    ReplyDelete
  49. @atokenconservative, you are the prime example of what Brittany is talking about. Police don't have the luxury of running to social media and spewing details regarding their side of the story. Due mostly in fact because of some long forgotten complaint or rights abuse, the police are required to remain silent on many issues as it could taint a case or breed a frivolous lawsuit. As for the shooting in Alberta, one media outlet here in Toronto published the headline "police shoot impaired driver" second shooting was published something like "police kill one injure another during routine traffic stop". Both headlines suggest the police just shot people basically "for the hell of it". Your comment suggests you believe this too. To say now that your worried about being pulled over in Alberta lends credence to Britany's comment " I can’t help but feel like the media has scapegoated police to the point that we now, as a culture, believe this to be fact.". Maybe you should dig a little further into these stories as too why the officers took what action they did. One of those stories is quite a bit more scary then the media has reported. Frankly, I`m tired of hearing there are good apples and bad apples. You could say this about every faction of society, it doesn't start and stop with police.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your right, it doesn't start and end with the police. The members are supposed to be screened, those bad apples are not supposed to get a uniform, they are supposed to be better, more trained, and ready to serve and protect - not abuse their policing authority. The fact that members still abuse authority only clearly points out how flawed the screening process is, and how strong the self-protective nature of the brotherhood has become. "We look after our own" mentality has, across BC, AB, SK, MB, and ON within the past 5 years, cited multiple incidents of where members have been found fabricating investigation materials, lied in their testimonies, wilfully used excessive force, and conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner that has caused the current social climate regarding how the public 'feels' about policing. I could cite a dozen examples in BC alone, from taser use to perjury on the stand with their statements, to tampering with evidence.

      @atokenconservative comments are honest and based upon his experiences, and that in itself needs to be examined before you challenge his fears and concerns over who they deal with when it comes to being pulled over. IMO, to be dismissive of that persons position, comparing his experiences to media hyped articles, and not acknowledge there are multiple significant national issues around abuse of authority, and professional credibility & conduct, spanning the past decade+ is just keeping your head in the sand regarding the bigger picture issues at hand.

      The challenge back to any officer is to NOT "protect our own" when they are knowingly doing "wrong". To report that fellow officer and have them wrote up, every time without hesitation. Maybe then, and only maybe then will the public begin to start to have some level of confidence in the honour and honesty of police members. It is well documented in the past decade across multiple provinces, time after time, members cover up each others 'mistakes' to avoid career blemishes or career ending activities. IMO, accountability has to start with the individual member in reporting those few 'bad apple' fellow officers that do manage to get through screening and wear the uniform. Hard for any citizen to have confidence and trust in an organization that protects its own through lies, evidence tampering, and general public deception, before being honest and truthful about their own wrong doings.

      Delete
  50. Thank You Brittany. Very well said! And I wish more people would see the importance of our law enforcement's jobs and what they have to deal with and risk to keep society protected. My Father is in corrections and my sister is going into RCMP. I know I couldn't do what they do. We need to support those that put their lives on the line for others!! If more people would respect the laws more would come home safely.
    Like previously said no officer wants to have to hurt anyone, that's not the reason they joined the profession. My sister says "I want to make a difference and help protect my country" and even though it scares me to think what she could encounter I support her because law enforcement is ultimately what keeps our freedom :) medical personal such as myself may seem like the 'life savers' but Medics couldn't do their job without RCMP! I think law enforcement is the glue of our country and too many take this for granted!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I love the article and the discussion you've generated. The one concept that you haven't addressed is mental illness. Mental illness exists on both sides of the line - members of the RCMP are as susceptible as the members of the public. I think it's fair to say that we as a society at large, including institutions such as the RCMP, need to be move towards a deeper understanding of how to help others (and ourselves) who struggle with mental illness. Some people with mental illnesses may rather be home playing Yahtzee, but find themselves in very non-Yahtzee like situations.

    On a personal note, as a teacher I feel like crap when I read an article or hear a news report that implies I care more about my wages and benefits than I care about kids, or that if I was doing a better job teaching all kids would graduate and go to college....I can see that really doesn't compare with the implication that I'm a power-hungry cop reaching for my gun because I'm a thug who gets a thrill out of beating law-abiding citizens! My heart goes out to you! I'll think of you, and read that next sensational link more critically.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Most police officers are upstanding moral people who take pride in doing their civic duty. Some of them are bloodthirsty, power-hungry thugs who abuse and harass people that have committed no crimes. Enough of them fall into the latter category that citizens have every right to be afraid when approached by the police, as it is impossible to tell if they are a "good" cop or a "bad" cop by appearance.

    I have childhood friends who have become RCMP officers and I trust those guys. I also know guys with heads full of lead shot who enjoy brutalizing people for fun, and they wear uniforms too. it is a fact that power is a corrupting force, and the public doesn't see enough repercussions for officers who violate the public's trust.

    If you felt like an officer would lose his job for improper conduct, people would probably be a lot more comfortable and trusting in law enforcement.

    However, the significant others of officers do not often encounter officers in the field doing their jobs, and without seeing that, there's also no way to tell the "good" cop from the "bad" cop, as there are plenty of humans who do horrible things all day at work and still manage to coach little league or host weekend BBQ.

    I've never been arrested but I know enough to know that for your own personal safety, every police officer is a bad cop until they prove otherwise.

    It doesn't help that our southern neighbours are slowly locking down into a police state.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every person, then, by your own reasoning, is a bad person until they prove otherwise and this is evident in your statement about yourself. Spouses and children do see officers on duty and often. Small town policing. Ah, but you probably think there is no room for police in society and people such as yourself should have the power to control. Those officers you claim are friends of yours, ha, they had better not trust you with your attitude!

      Delete
  53. My husband and my brother are mounties. Not a day go's by that I don't worry. Well said.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I read that story this morning and thought it doesn't say how the victim was behavoring, most likely resisting arrest and the police had to use force. I drive by my RCMP building twice a day to and from work and Thank God that they are there. I know someone hate them, maybe they had a bad experience but you don't paint everyone with that brush. I pray that God will protect our brave members.

    ReplyDelete
  55. More and more gangs, more and more guns, knives, drugs, needles, addicts, and police haters. To every negative writer I say "You go out there every day and deal with them."
    Excellent article Britany.
    Thank god for the police.

    ReplyDelete
  56. The media doesn't cover things fairly all the time, or even most of the time, and people have to do SOME thinking for themselves.

    The problem is that most people don't have time to think about everything. They have time to think about a few things that are important to them, and everything else is a headline or a six-second Vine, in one ear and out the other.

    Some officers are bad, most are good, but they require additional oversight and constant examination of their organizational culture if they are to maintain the integrity that is essential to their duties.

    ReplyDelete
  57. This is very well written and the concerns relate to OPP and municipal police services as well.
    So frustrating when the media can take a spin however they want to yet the police officers cannot respond to the ridiculous accusations. They must remain dignified and stoic while their split second actions are investigated ( as it should be) by their superiors and attacked and judged in the court of public opinion unjustly. Believe you me, no officer involved in a serious incident resulting in a citizen death is just re holstering his weapon and carrying on with his day. He will re live it every day of his life. And the media will continue to crucify him so that even once he is exonerated, his life will always be coloured by the incident.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I live in a small community and we get to know of police officers .I feel very safe ,they are friendly and helpful.
    I have had dealing with them because of work and privately .
    Never once have I ever felt they didn't resolve issues at
    hand .I wouldn't want their job .Thank god we have them!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Very well written. I know several police officers and know how hard they work and some of the dangerous situations they often face. All of them would go out of their way to help you, all are kind & take their job seriously! I saw one officer at a coffee shop (whom I know well) and as he got ready to leave, (after receiving a call), I said "Have a safe shift." He replied, "Please pray for my safety. I have a tough situation to face to right now."

    ReplyDelete
  60. I sometimes find apologists for police officers a little tiresome. Regarding the danger of the job, policing barely makes the top ten list. I agree it can be an unpleasant job, but police are very well paid to endure that unpleasantness. I am a senior now, and empirical evidence over my lifetime from my own observations, show me a remarkable change in the attitude of police. There seems to be less of a committment to service and a greater sense of entitlement on their part. One example, on "coptalk", a local radio talk show hosted by two serving members, I heard the following two statements: "the public should not be worried about surveylance cameras if they are doing nothing wrong" and "the use of cell cameras to video police should not be allowed". Does anyone other than me see two standards? Respect needs to be earned, and for the most part police earn and are worthy of respect. Telling someone who makes an observation that a constable might be a little overexhuberant in his dealings with a youngster to "mind your own business unless you want to feel what a tazer feels like" does neither earn nor entitle respect. The majority are fine, but there needs to be greater transparency in dealing with those who are not. The "us versus them" attitude begins with the police, not the public.

    ReplyDelete
  61. as only a regular Canadian citizen with many friends and acquaintances serving as Law Enforcement employees of Canada, Provinces, Cities, Towns and Suburbs and pray everyday that they are able to complete each and every shift unscathed and be able to go home to their family and friends as a total equal to everyone else's daily profession. As to all of my experiences with any officers of the law unless it is only a routine stop you have either done or looked as if you have done something wrong, you would never be confronted. If you are in fact stopped i have found that if you are fully cooperative with no reasons to be belidgerante accept your chance to defend yourself in the proper channels be in court or lawyer. I myself find that in almost all cases where altercations derive is either alcohol drugs or other elicite dealings.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Interesting that the bulk of comments which could be viewed as critical are almost exclusively annonymous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this from someone named *Anonymous*???..........really??

      Delete
  63. My husband is a Mountie and has been in policing for over 30 years and my 5 brother-in-laws are also police officers. Thank you for writing about this other perspective of the situations that are not spoken about often enough.

    ReplyDelete
  64. As an ex-auxiliary who did not have a gun but did face putting my life on the line, I second your words. Many times we did not know what we were facing but still did things like stop the motorcycle gang on the side of the road - one officer and me and about twenty of them. It was the job so we did it. The officers I knew on duty were out there protecting the public not applying force unless needed. Like you pointed out, don't do anything illegal and you have nothing to fear.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Thanks for sharing! We need to teach our children to respect the police and if they chose to do something illegal they must face the consequences! Thank you all police officers and I hope you stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
  66. I am the wife of a police officer. I have also worked as a dispatcher both provincially and municipally. My officer was the center of a media frenzy in our small town once. It was horrible to walk down the street the day after the local paper headlined the front page with the officer's pictures. It was horrible for our kids to go to school and the children having been told by their parents about these 'bad' policemen. It was awful all around.....and the worst part was, part of the information being reported was inaccurate. In the end, my officer didn't loose his job or get disciplined, because he didn't do anything wrong! But our family shouldn't have had to feel ashamed to leave the house because we knew what a good portion of the community was thinking and saying. I just wish the media would have got more of the facts straight and paid a little respect to officers and their families until all the facts were in. But, I do appreciate your article Brittany and your profession. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I have had a much different experience as a member's wife. Of course none of the wives/husbands of police officers start out seeing their spouses as a gun welding, control freaks. Yet - it is well documented that alcoholism, drug abuse, spousal/family abuse, and a barrage of other family issues are all too common within the member's family circle. Yet nobody here openly talks about how their policing spouse has temper/control issues. Or how some intimidate their family members into "portraying" 'church going folk and that everything is perfect' type of family life with endless threats of what a member can do if you do not comply. Besides these all-too-closeted issues within the social dynamics of a police officer's family, there is and always has been a very clear 'them' and 'us' mentality with members; it is engrained into their outlook during their training. We are the good guys, everyone else is a 'perp'.

    Of course some members are smart enough to disguise their feelings with pleasant social smiles - you know of what I talk about ladies. My husband was a master of the fake smile while standing there thinking the worst of thoughts. Or having family members being restricted as to who they can associate with because the family's police member "said so". You can paint a picture of all the social dislike that you want, but at the end of the day it is not the media, not the public - but the member's actions themselves that have created this sh*t storm of negative publicity in recent years. Police are not respected these days by the general populus because of their documented actions, conduct, and attitudes - NOT because the evil media painted a 'non-factual' picture. I understand, you are sensitive to the police officers' perspective; I was, at one time, as well. I understand because I used to be a member's wife.

    Sure, the marriage started out so beautifully. Until the third or forth year of marriage. Then the extreme lack of full debriefing support, compounded by the lack of post traumatic stress support that should have been compulsory, mixed in with the relentless office and advancement politics of ass-kissing and kowtowing to supervisors, and the endless night shifts of exposure to the underbelly of societies ugliest behaviours and activities. They blindly follow their command and order structure, dismissing and excusing what they know in their hearts to be wrongful and inappropriately abusive behaviours, as simply following orders laid out by a senior officer. Over a few short years I watched a loving person turn into a man I no longer knew. Yes, a gun welding, out of control, socially intimidating, above-the-law, control freak. So don't paint that being a member's wife is all roses and family love for all families involved, because it is far from it, and you are not being honest with yourself and others if you portray life with a police member that way.

    Part 2 posted as a reply to this post...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PART 2...

      There are no justifiable reasons why the incidents of police violence across the nation has significantly escalated the past decade, while at the same time, violence & crime statistics have been on the decrease during the same period of time. These above-the-law individual are taught, trained, and 'encouraged' to think of themselves different than the average citizen walking the street. Then we wonder why they treat the average citizen they are interacting with with very little respect, and unnecessary excessive force. I know, Shhh!, I'm not supposed to talk about such things, my husband constantly reminded me of that fact. I know, your spouse is different than mine, your spouse would never act that way or become that person - and I used to say that in the early years of our marriage too. Unlike you, I divorced my gun welding control freak and moved my kids out of province to a safe family environment. You may be blind due to your close involvement, but there are very good reasons why police have caught the news headlines, it is because their activities ARE beyond appropriate and just in many situations. And evidence to that fact comes forward, daily, thanks to cell phone cameras, social media, and increasing public awareness - this unacceptable, yet mentored behaviour is getting the attention it deserves.

      For all you with loving spouses that are members, I hope my words haunt you in the years ahead. Specially as your loving spouse starts to drink more in the evenings and weekends. They demonstrate less control of their temper with family members, and start to bark orders like their own children are the 'perps' they handle at work. IMO, as a members ex-wife being a police officer turns a good man bad, and will do it every time, its just a matter of prolonged exposure to societies cesspool and outrageously testosterone driven management that feed, encourage, and demand good people to become gun welding control freaks. Appreciate your 'good' marriage ladies, as you are sitting on time bomb and many of don't even acknowledge it - I know I denied it for years. He just had a bad shift. He is under pressure from the bosses. Last weeks incident is still bothering him, etc, there was always an excuse for his changing behaviour. When he did get wrote up for excessive force in beating a 'perp' and assigned desk duty for six months all his frustrations with work came home in magnitude. At some point I had to stop making excuses for his behaviours and actions; and acknowledge that the police force had successfully turned, what was once a very good man, into a gun welding control freak.

      No, the media is not that far off the mark of reality - As a ex-member's wife, I can attest that is the case, just as strongly as you can attest that it is not. IMO, it is you who is blinded by the sugar coated lies of a life with a police member, and you are not being honest with yourself. You know of the issues I talk of, you know how common they are for us women married to the force - instead you bury those concerns and excuse them away. Here you post ample concern over the negative image that the member's themselves have created by their own actions, in all sincerity. You may have the odd spouse who believes life is all grand as an officer's wife, but there are many of us that have left that man out of concern of safety for ourselves and our children. May you never experience the hell I have had to live through in my time as an officer's wife. And yes, I do hope the excessive, aggressive, and oppressive violence by police officers is stopped - it is out of control, like all to many officers are, although hidden behind fake smiles and lies. That those officers taking things too far, too fast promptly end up paying a severe price for their outrageous actions and behaviours. The 'above-the-law' mentality has to be squashed!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. All I can say is, WOW! Here's a perfect example of painting all members with the same brush. No marriage is perfect, no individual is perfect. I don't think it's fair to say that a person's chosen profession turns them into a certain type of person. People are who they are. Some people choose to deal with their issues (whatever they may be), while others choose to believe the issues don't exist...regardless of their career.

      Delete
    4. You & your ex obviously have many issues -- please DO NOT paint all members and their wives/families with your negativity. With understanding, love & support these men & women who put their lives on the line everyday for our safety can and do have happy, normal marriages. I'm sorry your "time-bomb" of a marriage blew up -- but I'm pretty sure all the blame can NOT be placed on your husbands job demands!! Maybe you should acknowledge your part in the end of your marriage -- just sayin'....

      Delete
    5. Brittany, I pray that you never have the experience what I, or your ex-member wife of the 'Scarlet Fever' post warned you about and drove her to her divorce. I've been around when the exes leave, and how the men bolster about how she couldn't handle it, how she was frail, damaged, and it was a good thing she left - that the member will be all the better because of losing the dead weight. I can not begin to count the nights that I've cried over various aspects of being a members' wife, and being kept 'in my place'. Unfortunately in all the intensive training they receive, nothing prepares them for the hell they witness and all too often, bring home. It is all too disappointing in all that is invested in preparing our men for their term of service - that little no preparation is dedicated to coping, processing, compartmentalizing, and yes, even grieving over 'the changes' that are about to occur in a young couples relationship and marriage. Instead they are taught and encouraged to put their careers and service over the health of their relationships and families, it is truly sad.

      My insight as a member's wife has not made me better to all members, I know there are good members out there - but they are fewer and further apart than the damaged and temper maligned control freaks. Like a bunch of teenage boys in an organized sports locker room, the brotherhood comradery and testosterone invoked brashness, push for performance, high risk activities, and extreme stresses can all too quickly invoke improper behaviours, attitudes, and actions in their fellow brothers of arms towards the public at large. When my husband came home and shared a phrase his senior commanding officer bestowed on him as wisdom, along the line of, 'all citizens are perps that just haven't been caught yet..' - that night I cried myself to sleep, knowing, knowing in the deepest parts of my heart, that the man I married was slowly exiting our relationship and being replaced with a performance driven, over worked, under counselled stress feign that was all too quickly developing an 'above-the-law' outlook and offensively aggressive towards people in our own community. People he had known for years, people he considered good people - until he was told they weren't, and he followed that command like a good sheep should. Our circle of friends soon became members only; I wasn't allowed to go socialize with the general public, members wives only, members events only. If we did have to make a social appearance at a public function, I was only allowed to go if he was able to, and I was expected to be by his side, smiling and promoting our lovely church going family life (although a complete lie at that point in our relationship). (continued..)

      Delete
    6. Like yourself, my own mother has had a long (40+ year) successful relationship with, what is now, a retired member; my father. I had chose to marry a member because of my father, because of our family life, because I wanted my children to have that beautiful life. The day I signed my divorce papers my father came up to me and said, 'my dear, few men can bare the responsibilities and harm that comes with the scarlet jacket. I have watched many fall apart, lose their families, and much more as victim to vices, out of control tempers, and much worse in trying to cope with the uncopeable. Do not ever think that this marriage failed because of you, or him, but because of an impossible job that is already stacked against the odds the first day he put on his uniform." I broke down and cried for hours travelling back to our new home province with my father's words echoing in my mind. My tears were not for the loss of my husband and relationship, they were not for the profound words shared by my father - But for the fact that my father had been out of the force for more than a decade, and yet still, even after witnessing the control issues, the abuse, the drinking, the temper with the children and everything including the wheels falling off cart that held our family unit together - My father stood there and blamed the job. The damn job (in other words because of life dealing with perps)! Not the fact that the entire police system is flawed, inadequately equipment for counselling the intense experiences, or the effects imposed upon the family members of a member. Even ten plus years after taking off his scarlet jacket, he was still speaking as programmed - as a member.

      No, I'm sorry to say, the statistics speak loudly; the policing system, and what our police force members are ordered to do as appropriate and justified conduct has reached new lows in my opinion. I've gone from sleeping with a member, to crossing the street to walk the other sidewalk when one comes in sight. I can't trust them, I've loved one, I lived with one, I was beaten nightly by one - I know the lies the speak and hide - too well. :( The approved outlook from the leadership, regarding violence has to be stopped.

      Delete
    7. Amen to the wife with the Part 2 story about her marriage to a member!!!......I agree.......forgive the other people's comments judging you for your part in the marriage; for they know not what they say...one day they may be the one calling for help from the hands of their own arrogant RCMP husband as he laughs in their face and says "Go ahead phone for help, who do you think they'll believe??...I'll just tell them you are nuts" Been there done that...........and thank god I survived

      Delete
    8. I think the member's wife from a few comments up really captures the reality of it. And if you ever wonder why the public don't trust cops, it's because cops used to watch over the people. Now they watch the people.

      'all citizens are perps that just haven't been caught yet..' - that night I cried myself to sleep, knowing, knowing in the deepest parts of my heart, that the man I married was slowly exiting our relationship and being replaced with a performance driven, over worked, under counselled stress feign that was all too quickly developing an 'above-the-law' outlook and offensively aggressive towards people in our own community.

      Delete
    9. I read this note and found it very interesting. Members who are abusive, are no different than any other individual's in society, they are nothing more than bullies, it is all about power and control. Clearly the RCMP did not make your ex-husband abusive, he possessed these qualities long in advance of his job. I am sure if his family history was looked at , his environment helped ingrain the demeaning of women in him as a child long before he became a member. So too paint all members as possible abusers and that their wives are naïve and follow along like puppets is unfounded .I have known RCMP wives for 30+ years and present day RCMP wives who are strong willed individuals with careers, who have an identity and do not equate it with the yellow stripe. In saying this though, like me , they realize that there is a behavior that they had to adhere to , this is no different than any other professional in the public eye . In regards to domestic abuse, over my 30+ year involvement with the RCMP as a wife, I knew of members who went to Service court and were let go for domestic abuse, this still happens to day! Clearly based on your comments, you still have a lot of pain, domestic abuse is very traumatizing. I hope that you are going to counselling! It is sad though that you equate your domestic abuse with the RCMP, instead of looking at the man who dealt the blows, it wouldn't matter what career he had, he was one troubled individual!

      Delete
    10. I am a members wife. We have been married 36 years, he is still working in a high ranking position. First, Brittany, thank you for writing about the bias in which the media portrays the Police, and most specifically the RCMP.

      As a "woman, who is a wife" One who has experienced ALL the ups and downs of marriage, the good the bad and the ugly! Was any of this because of his profession? Yes, the ugly certainly was...it was attributed to his "human-ness" Day in and day out dealing with the worst that society can throw at a person. Can you even begin to imagine what it's like to be "on guard" 24/7? Does it change some? Of course, it changes all of them, men and women who do this job... it changed ME, I had to learn how to understand what he encounters daily!! Are they all gun-toting control freaks? No.

      I have to also disagree with the posters who have made statements that pertain to the men they were married too. To suggest that the Force does not have the support "they" needed is BS. Counselling is 100% paid for.. IF and WHEN a spouse or a member wants it. If you chose NOT to seek the help that is available, who's fault is that? Your ex-husbands? The Forces? I've used those services, a few times over the years... so I could learn how to cope, as well as how to help HIM cope. We went together.. we did so, to honour the vows that we took...it's called commitment! Marriage is 50/50. It takes TWO people to build an amazing union.. it also takes TWO people to fail at it!

      I can't even begin to fathom comments like.. all our friends had to be mounties, or that you were "not" permitted to go out etc... seriously?? not permitted? it would be a cold day in hell when anyone would or could tell me what I could or couldn't do or say, and who I could be friends with...YOU have a choice, we ALL do. We've made life time friends who are members... however, the majority of our friends are bankers, and accountants, and real estate agents... you know, just normal regular people.

      The media is BIASED, regardless.. they are instructed by THEIR editors, NOT to print or report on ANY good a member does. They sensationalize with Tabloid like headlines...if they don't have ANY information to go on, they have ZERO issue using conjecture with the intent of painting the police as thugs.. PERIOD! And yet one of their own is charged with being a pedophile, sexually assaulting children, and yet it doesn't LEAD the top story nor do they follow it like a stalker waiting for him to assault again.

      It is appalling to me when I read that public opinion shows that the public is dissatisfied with the police.. really? Where did they get their stats? Because that could not be further from the truth. The RCMP have a very HIGH approval rating, by virtue of the PUBLIC they serve.. the only people who do not approve are those that believe they are above the law, can break the law, and then get upset if an officer has to use force.

      Wouldn't it be a wonderful rose coloured glasses world if people DIDN'T break the law...until such a time as people take RESPONSIBILITY for their OWN actions...the police will continue to knock people upside the head.

      Delete
    11. The post/responder with mental health attacks and existing condition claims is so far off base it's laughable. I've long dealt with past events, I live a healthy, abuse & member free life. I know what service court is supposed to do, but only after Ottawa was involved did I see resolve. The local & prov levels both tried hard to drop it. As for me blaming the institution of policing (not specific, either the national or any prov/muni services as you claim), it's inadequate polices, soft cover ups of internal issues (secrecy), budgetary restrictions on debriefing related mental health counselling, political bantering within the command & order structure - that Yes, point towards the fact the institution is seriously flawed and needs to be improved. IMO, I would like to see public review of transparency of members actions, activities. Put a fail-proof camera on every badge, and a strong policy that states if your camera is turned off, there are harsh immediate consequences. They want absolute trust, remove doubt, absolutely.

      Any institution with leadership members caught (local or national) compromising facts and truth in their duty to serve and protect, for the purpose of 'protecting their own'; Yes, it needs to be 3rd party monitored. So yes, it is the institution IMO that the issue lies with. As for my situation, you weren't there, you don't know the facts, or what proactive healthy preventative measures were tried to stop, salvage, and repair the escalating damage - Yet your pompous enough to judge my situation while claiming things I've never said, but you've imply. Try leading by example.

      You focus on mental health history, but such is not the case. If your claims were correct, and you knew the screening processes to even wear the uniform, you would realize, that if such issues were forefront & relevant, as you claim my ex. Then he should have never been accepted to training or became an officer. To give your suggestions credence only further supports the fact the institution is flawed, as they should have rejected him if that were the case, which it was not, as my husband had good history. Nice try, makes me wonder if you are his ex-commanders wife, with the laughable approach you pitch.

      You imply lots, and says little factual. If you read my posts since the thread started, I have not painted all or every member with the same brush, you assumed that much on your own. From my experience, I feel the issues I've discussed are relevant to the institution as cause & effect. That current policies, how such are commanded (covered up) contribute to these issues. Instead they could have offered aid to remedy, or resolve to improve troubled lives, but don't, just sweep it away, be quiet, it doesn't exist. I have never said all wives, all members, blah blah, blah. You attempt to blame individuals for a problem you know nothing about, protecting the institution with inadequacies in policies, procedures, equipment, training, and baseline measures to assure proper follow up for critical & stress related incidents, puts them on the street, shift after shift. A man's man club, show no weakness or be demoted - or worse, shunned. It has improved some since back in the day, based on what I've read in recent years, but has lots to grow yet.

      Frankly IMO, if you had used diplomacy in your effort to communicate with me, you would have started with the fact the institution is not perfect, and needs improvement, as an angle to start talks from. A far better start than attacking my ex's mental health history, but instead you attack. How hurtful some can be when they perceive things to be personal, but really it does not involve them. We differ greatly in our opinions and approaches to communicating. IMO, you likely socialize with members often, as their on-duty, agenda based communication practices have rubbed off. :/ To error is human and understandable; it is the misuse of authority & power that is questioned.

      Delete
  68. There should be more people like you writing these beauties. I am a member in BC, the most negative province in the world (to police in).... Makes my day knowing there are some people out there with common sense. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I am the fiance of an RCMP officer who has just retired from the force and he was the kindest officer anyone could have encountered so yes there are good guys out there that don't let the power go to their heads. He always got a thank you from motorists after giving out speeding tickets (not sure how he did that) but people were always grateful for his attitude. Now that he is retired he still abides by the integrity of the RCMP code and still feels like he is being watched and judged by what he used to do for a living. The best man I have ever met and have ever known. Thank you for your article and I hope more people read and understand where you are coming from :)

    ReplyDelete
  70. Wow, what an amazing article and so many valuable comments.
    I am not a spouse of a member.
    I am not related to anyone on the force.
    I am not a wife.
    He'll I am not a woman.

    I do however totally appreciate everything good our members do to protect our safety.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Wow, what a great article and very interesting comments.
    I am not a spouse of a member.
    I am not related to any member.
    I am not a wife of a member.
    He'll, I am not a woman.
    I am however very proud of the police force and grateful for keeping the peace and keeping my family safe.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Very well written. I am a wife of an Alberta sheriff and I too am biased, mostly because of the stories I get to hear at the end of his day. I am and EMT and work very closely with RCMP and am so grateful I don't have to put up with what they deal with on a daily basis. When a patient or bystander is being violent or degrading I get to call the the police to deal with them, they don't get to pass off these people to someone else.

    ReplyDelete
  73. The mainstream media does not report reality, they shape reality and it is almost always lies and propaganda.

    The CBC is state owned and state owned media is, historically, dangerous. I invite you to read CBC Exposed by Brian Lilley. Example, they write about taxpayers funding civil suits for police wrongdoing, yet taxpayers pay all civil suits against the CBC and they are far from transparent, but therein lies the nature of state owned media.

    I also note KTLA deliberately omitted the first 13 seconds of the Rodney King beating in the name of ratings. Those 13 seconds showed King charging the police officers under the influence of angel dust. The jury saw the entire video and that is why they were acquitted on criminal charges. KTLA never showed the entire video.

    ReplyDelete
  74. As a wife of a retired RCMP member I enjoyed reading all the comments. I love reading articles from couch critics who have no idea what the world is truly like for Police officers but instead focus on either that are too well paid, they lack respect and that they should not use guns. Yes, RCMP members have to be accountable, no one is disputing this, do they risk their lives, no disputing that. Are their bad apples like in any other jobs , no disputing this. Are they paid well, I guess you can look at this both ways. Some argue that they are paid well, , so if they die that is alright or if they get shot or are spit at and get AIDS, that is alright, they are paid well? My question too these critics is How much is your life worth? When you look at Police officer salaries, which some people argue is a lot, take a look at RN salaries across Canada. In some provinces RN's make just as much or more than a police--officer. I don't hear the public or the Media across Canada arguing about having to pay for this essential service!

    People argue, that RCMP members show no respect to the Public. I will counter argue and say what respect is the Public showing these members when they spit at them, hit them , chock them like the member in Alberta., their families are threatened and the the Public even has the nerve to monitor and to make comments about their coffee breaks ( eg.Tim Hortons). Respect is a two way street people, you only get what you dish out !



    In regards to information being held from the Media, yes I am sure this is done. I guess one at this point has to ask why is information withheld . As a citizen, do you want to see for example a death of a family member on TV first or would you rather be told it in person? The Media is a great outlet for getting information out to the Public, but the media does not always present the truth or a fair story. Media reporting is a big business and a lot is on the line, it is called ratings and money. The RCMP member that was hurt in Alberta , was only hurt, thank god, not killed, so the Media in my opinion viewed this as just a causality of the workplace of these overpaid individuals. Know if the RCMP member had died and he did not have to compete with the Monkey custody ownership story out of Quebec, the Media would have reported the mishap. Its called ratings and it is called Money.

    In the 33 years that my husband was a police officer , I had never seen the Media write an apology against any thing they reported falsely against a Police Officer. Why had this not been done, once again it comes down to ratings!! To all the RCMP members out there, continue to do your job, ignore the ignorance of the couch critics, and be safe. I for one am thankful for having you out there protecting us. To the Critics, sign up , change can only occur if new blood comes into the system , I am sure they will welcome you with open arms!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Neither my wife nor I are police officers nor is any of my immediate family, though a few of my childhood friends are.

    I have nothing but respect for the law and those who chose to uphold it and especially those who chose to serve to enforce it and protect our country and its people, including the police and military.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Ariel Haubrich17 August, 2013

    Beautifully and powerfully written....the truth of your words brought tears to my eyes and peace to my heart knowing that our province is protected by men like your husband and informed by people like yourself.

    Thank you, and God Bless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sandy ryerse17 August, 2013

      You've spoken well for us police wives...thank you. I am also an insurance broker, and despite the picture of my husband in my office that I proudly display, I still have clients in my office that bah the police. Education is my best defence. So many just don't know, don't understand and just want a band wagon to stand on. Hopefully a little education will go a long way.

      Thank you for your article!

      Delete
  77. Very god story, I am a widow of an R.C.M.P and you are so right, they come home and most time don't like what they had to do that day if it meant putting somebody in jail, young ones , my husband would phone parents to let them know and some said I cant help, they wont listen to what I say , so they don't live here anymore , how sad is that, again thank you for letting everybody know, what a great job, all our police are doing.K.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I am not related to the RCMP or any police force.

    In my opinion the "media" does NOT do society justice!! There is no such thing as news reporting, it is entertainment ... the selling of a television program, radio show, and/or newspaper. The more "sensational" the more likely it will catch the eye & attention of the consumer. I am learning to ignore ANY THING that is "reported" by the media.

    I find it interesting that we as a society make the laws and rules then call the police to solve OUR problems ... AND I for one am glad that they still respond when needed.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Thank you, Brittany, and thank you to those that support our members.
    My husband is a member and is the kindest man you will ever meet. He daily takes abuse from not only the scum of society, but from judges who rule that he and his fellow officers don't even have the same rights that we civilians do. And he never takes out the stress of the job on me.
    To the ex-wives who have faced abuse, I do feel you are bitter and slanted in your opinions of the RCMP. I know several officers who don't even drink, my husband included. They don't expect us to only socialize with RCMP wives, and in fact most of us have our own lives and social groups and families, so socializing with each other happens very rarely. I can't name one officer I would call "arrogant" or a "control freak" although I do know ANY person can be different at home than at work or out in a social setting.
    I don't think the job makes men this way at all; perhaps it brings out the worst of what is already there.
    For my husband, it brings out the best. He treats the most miserable low-lifes with a level of respect I could never manage, not to mention patience. He gets thanked by people and friendly hellos in an area known for hatred and suspicion of police.
    He works too hard for way too little pay; since when is $70k - initially it was little over $30k as a new member, I might add - a decent enough wage to be getting injured, spit on, verbally accosted, and shot at, as one asshole on here suggested? Not to mention the countless hours of overtime which he doesn't even claim because "paperwork doesn't count", even though nobody goes to jail without this paperwork! The rig pigs he deals with daily always like to brag about how much they bring in. Even the lowest paid earn more than double of what my husband makes, and they have no education (my hubby has two degrees), little training, and, more often than not, at least one unhealthy addiction... not to mention a criminal record.

    ReplyDelete
  80. READ THIS BEFORE COMMENTING:

    Hi there.. me again. The wife that wrote an article about the police and media and my opinion (this is a personal blog by the way) of what's happening out there.

    I have complete control of the comments and have let most through, however I will no longer be publishing any comments that do not directly reflect the article. I thoroughly appreciated a media person chiming in on their angle. This is the kind of healthy debate I am glad to facilitate.

    IF you want to complain about how the 'cop' you dealt with was an asshole because he gave you a ticket you couldn't afford (I'm not going there... ) please vent your frustrations else where. Same goes for the semi- threatening comments about police beating their wives and hoping it happens to us current wives some day so we'll know how it feels. It's a really rotten thing to say to anyone, and really irresponsible to assume all police husbands end up as evil, controlling, freaks. IT's just not true. I'm very sorry for what happened in your lives, and I truly hope you get counselling to deal with what happened. And good on you for getting outta there if it was that bad.

    Before you send a comment telling me how hypocritical it is of me to lambast the media and then shut down hate-o-grams on the article consider this:

    So far not one of you have said anything I have not heard on a regular basis from random people and the media. I'm coming from a place of love and truth. I don't want things covered up, I stated that clearly in this blog. I want the bad people to get weeded out as much as the next person. But signing in with "Anonymous" and not saying anything really intelligent or thought provoking is where I draw the line.

    Examples of how other countries have dealt with a similar problem, media people talking about what they do, whatever, I'll post that, but at the end of the day this thread is going in circles and nobody is accomplishing anything.

    Peace people.. it's what we all want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you were wise in making this updated to your post at this juncture, and I thank you for it.

      I would agree that this is not a place for hateful things to be spoken about any individual or group of people. No matter how unpleasant the experiences may have been to lead up to any one person's current feelings or outlook. Our discussions here should not be about what wrong has been done, or debating that in itself.

      IMO, first and foremost, I have found this to be an enlightening social conversation of various personal appreciations for those that do the job. Along with constructive discussion on the role the media plays in informing? manipulating? those social perceptions that we hold so differently to a lesser degree.

      Some have gotten a little off track here and there; and it is only right, as host and moderator of this discussion, that you help clarify some ground rules when the boundaries are being pushed. Thank you. :)

      Delete
  81. What is this? Another RCMP PR Campaign?

    ReplyDelete
  82. WOW, Not so sure anyone will write anything now, not after that threat of censorship on your part. Personal blog or not.
    I think that is the point the naysayers are trying to make on here "Stop covering up things by making it simply go away and that the police are sometimes at fault themselves, due to their own arrogance"
    But you go ahead and just keep putting through the comments you prefer to make your own point, that's fine. Another point has just been made in their favour now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dude. I totally agree with you. Read my words in the article. Human, flaws, problem members. What I'm saying is unless it is a new, thought provoking idea (for or against) and it's already been said three times (good and bad) I'm not posting any more comments. This is not a formal inquiry, it's an opinion piece which I will gladly hear differing opinions on... Just don't sound like an angry person with a vendetta.

      Delete
    2. Brittany said that she is willing to post dissenting views, as long as all comments remain respectful and add to the conversation. You are reading what you want to into her statement while disregarding what she actually wrote.

      Delete
  83. I am not the wife of a police officer, however I have friends who are and this article hits the nail on the head. Well said and well written! Thanks Brittany

    ReplyDelete
  84. Hello Brittany, I read your comment with interest and re-read your initial article three times .In your article you talk about how people have negative feelings about police and how they are stereo-typed, right or wrong and their under-evaluation. You then presented an open ended question and looked for responses. I am not sure what you were looking for, with an open ended question like that , people responded . Some people provided positive comments, some negative, some frustration was shown ,anger, but all of them showed the freedom of speech. These individuals also showed how an article can influence people, how biases can come out and even distain, exactly like the Media does with police. Freedom of speech is a very powerful tool, but it can also cause undue harm. Should we stifle the media, no, they are our eyes. I think that the Police Forces and Media will never have a good working relationship, two different mandates in play. Not sure if you will post this, enjoyed the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  85. I am the Mother of a member, at the end of the day, I want my Child coming home. Not the knife wielding gun toting innocent. My Constable who contributes to society!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Thank you Brittany for your words of wisdom and being the voice of many of us who have been forced to sit back quietly, frustrated with the media over the years, forbidden to say anything.....because we are RCMP wives, sisters, brothers, children, husbands and parents of RCMP Members.

    My husband served 38 years with the RCMP until his untimely death in 2009, working right up to the day before his death in a hospital bed, with tubes coming out of each arm, barely able to breathe or talk, with his blackberry in hand dealing with a high level criminal situation that he wanted to make sure was taken care before he died. If he were still alive today, he'd still be out there making sure our streets were safe from drug dealers, gun runners, child molesters and murderers. He’d be protecting the very people who would cry out police brutality and conflict of interest. He would be doing his job believing in the system and this country he loved so much.

    Yes he knew that we are all human and that there is and always will be flaws in any system or line of work. The frustrating part for me was when the media would get their facts wrong or would report only one side only to try to sell more papers or get you to watch the 6 o’clock news. I don’t know how many times my husband would be out on an ERT call out or a Drug Bust and I would have to turn off the radio or TV to protect my children from hearing embellished misleading reports from the media.

    Also, why is the media focusing more on the human story of a criminal rather than the human story of the thousands of officers out there doing something good in this country.....why?
    Because it doesn’t sell papers!!

    My opinion comes from the experience of 26 years of living with a RCMP officer who dedicated his whole life to the service of others because HE HAD Honor, Loyalty and Integrity ........and YES,
    he was “ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!”
    But then, what do I know? I am only the wife of one.

    Rest in Peace P.D.M.

    ReplyDelete
  87. As a relative of one amazing officer I agree completely with what this article is saying but I'd also like to jump in and beg the people that read this to understand the underlying message. People who are employed to serve the population are being treated unjustly in the media. Please apply that message to all who serve. The military, the municipal workers, firefighters, posties, etc. The media paints all these professions (and more) the same way. The RCMP has definitely gotten a raw deal in how they are portrayed and we should stand up for those admirable people who take on this profession. I for one, thank them for what they do.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Just for one moment, anyone who is not a police officer, a wife of one or connected in any way....ANSWER THIS...
    How many of you would, day after day, year after year, no matter what has been said or done to you, would continue to protect people you do not know? People who may also be the ones who hate you? People who would never come to your aid, no matter what? If these people suddenly found themselves or their loved ones in danger or a life threatening situation (car accident, home invasion?) WHO DO THEY CALL? Yet, police officers continue to put their lives on the line, day after day, year after year even for people who would not give them the time of day!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE...grow some and stand up for your neighbour, the senior next door, the child who constantly gets abused and MAYBE just MAYBE you may see things differently!

    ReplyDelete
  89. How can you blame a person for simply not wanting to read the same words over and over about how she deserves to be beaten or angry comments that have nothing to do with this blog. Clearly if she wanted to screen the comments and make this a 'truly bias' blog, she would not have posted half of the comments that were posted.

    As someone who has been an 'Average Jane', and now in a relationship with a member, and in the process of becoming a member, I can tell you that my view has changed, and before you all of you think I am bias too, let me explain:

    As an 'Average Jane', I read the papers and often feared members, wondered why there were so many terrible acts of violence and wondered if there were alternatives to the violence.

    Since then, I have learned how skewed the media is, and how it's a shame that often they must keep quiet when the truth would make the officers more 'popular' in the public eye. I have friends who work in the media, and I can tell you they don't agree with what they have to write, and yet if they speak up, they are basically told to 'shove it'.

    This is not to say there are not bad apples in the force. It happens in any job, but when my significant other ended up in a situation at work where he saved lives, but ultimately the guilty party went into cardiac arrest (and not due to anything he or his partner did I might add), he also tried to save his life, but unfortunately it wasn't possible, he overdosed.

    The situation itself was difficult, but I watched at the media raked him over the coals, and made him out to be a monster with fake witnesses, when actually he was thanked by those he saved. I think he has also wish he could go back and save that man, no matter what he had done, and he tried but with no success.

    He went through the same process as the other officers, and despite what the media would have liked, they had no further story because he didn't do anything wrong and the real witnesses proved that account, but to this day he doesn't forget that day.

    He is one of the best men I have ever known, and he doesn't boast about his job, or the power he has, instead we are forced to hide what he does to avoid being targeted by those who hate the police (aka drug dealers, gun traffickers, etc.), and believe me, we've already had individuals try to make it obvious that we were being watched. It's a shame that we have to hide something that he should be proud of, because I think it's profession to be proud of. For those of you who don't think so; How many of you are willing to run into a situation on a daily basis where there is a good chance you may not make it out alive?

    I only hope that I can be half the officer he is, and while I understand the reality that is awaiting me on the other side, I also hope that through example, maybe, just maybe the negative image can change one officer at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Very well put and Kudos to all RCMP officers everywhere!!! We all make mistakes but that's what makes us humans. People only see and hear what they want to! We find in each and every profession there is good and bad but we tend to forget the police and other professionals but their lives on the line every time they put on that uniform and I for one want to thank them on behalf of myself,my kids,and my grand kids.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I find this very true. My brother was the conservation officer that was killed south of Saskatoon 2 months ago. He was directing traffic by foot at an accident scene. It is absolutely heart breaking to me and my family. Especially finding out this man who was allegedly a drunk driver had intentionally killed Justin. He was so proud to put on his vest when he was on duty that we had never thought that it would become a target that very same day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do remember news coverage on the incident. My condolences to you and your family with such a terrible tragic loss.


      Delete
  92. Awesome wording on how the RCMP are being portrayed by the media, the very people that call these same RCMP to help when they are being attacked or robbed or other. I have had several relatives in the past and present who are serving the public and I could not be more proud. I can't imagine what the families go through each time their loved one goes to work. The RCMP is Canadian History and I'm so proud of them. To sum it up, WAY TO GO RCMP!!!

    ReplyDelete
  93. Hi Brittany,
    Great article. Great discussion. I ignored the post when it first came up on my facebook page, but then when a few friends reposted it, I went back in to have a read. I think you did a good job. You said what your bias was and I thought you made your points in a fashion to make people think about what we read. It is then up to the individual to explore this further and form an opinion. You provided some things to mull about.

    I am not directly connected to the RCMP or any police force: but I have had in my occupations of nursing, then administration in an elementary school, plus being a parent and a community member, the opportunity to work with RCMP on many occasions and in many capacities. As with many helping professions (teaching, nursing, social work etc.) , you do the best that you can and you cannot always stand up and give out the details that would clarify a situation. The privacy of the people you deal with must be respected. Sometimes that is at the peril of your own reputation. And yes, there are bad apples everywhere. But it is damn frustrating for those involved and their families when the tiny percentage of bad apples negatively colours the great work that is done.

    My other frustation that leads to some of this (in my opinion), is our world of instant information and a lot of "incoming stimuli". How many times have any of your readers here had someone only read half of their text or email and jump to conclusions about the message being sent. I deal with it on a daily basis just with my friends and family little own the public at large. I want to shout "if it is unclear or you don't understand -- ask -- don't jump to conclusions before you have more information. Communication, communication.

    We are attached to our cell phones, computers, etc. There is so much information coming in that we give things a "half glance". We cruise the headlines, quickly scroll the Facebook page and just read the previews of our email messages. We miss stuff (the details, the perspective) on a daily basis and just take in the "sensation". Journalists work in this environment. They have to catch the 5-10 second attention span to get out their articles. It has to be a "grabber".

    As I said in the intro, your blog post was on my FB page earlier today, but no flash caught my eye and I scrolled on down to a Youtube video that did. I'm glad some of my friends reposted your opinion and that I did go and read it and the majority of the reply posts. Slow down people and read as much as you can before assuming damning perspectives. Our kids are listening to our exclamations when we see something that upsets us. It is our responsibility to help them learn how to read and search and explore to develop perspective.

    Kat

    ReplyDelete
  94. Hi Brittany,
    Great article. Great discussion. I ignored the post when it first came up on my facebook page, but then when a few friends reposted it, I went back in to have a read. I think you did a good job. You said what your bias was and I thought you made your points in a fashion to make people think about what we read. It is then up to the individual to explore this further and form an opinion. You provided some things to mull about.

    I am not directly connected to the RCMP or any police force: but I have had in my occupations of nursing, then administration in an elementary school, plus being a parent and a community member, the opportunity to work with RCMP on many occasions and in many capacities. As with many helping professions (teaching, nursing, social work etc.) , you do the best that you can and you cannot always stand up and give out the details that would clarify a situation. The privacy of the people you deal with must be respected. Sometimes that is at the peril of your own reputation. And yes, there are bad apples everywhere. But it is damn frustrating for those involved and their families when the tiny percentage of bad apples negatively colours the great work that is done.

    My other frustation that leads to some of this (in my opinion), is our world of instant information and a lot of "incoming stimuli". How many times have any of your readers here had someone only read half of their text or email and jump to conclusions about the message being sent. I deal with it on a daily basis just with my friends and family little own the public at large. I want to shout "if it is unclear or you don't understand -- ask -- don't jump to conclusions before you have more information. Communication, communication.

    We are attached to our cell phones, computers, etc. There is so much information coming in that we give things a "half glance". We cruise the headlines, quickly scroll the Facebook page and just read the previews of our email messages. We miss stuff (the details, the perspective) on a daily basis and just take in the "sensation". Journalists work in this environment. They have to catch the 5-10 second attention span to get out their articles. It has to be a "grabber".

    As I said in the intro, your blog post was on my FB page earlier today, but no flash caught my eye and I scrolled on down to a Youtube video that did. I'm glad some of my friends reposted your opinion and that I did go and read it and the majority of the reply posts. Slow down people and read as much as you can before assuming damning perspectives. Our kids are listening to our exclamations when we see something that upsets us. It is our responsibility to help them learn how to read and search and explore to develop perspective.

    Kat

    ReplyDelete

  95. Great blog post. I have the utmost respect for officers of the law - my brother is military and we have many friends in the RCMP as well as municipal forces. I teach my young son to appreciate and respect the police. Unfortunately many professions are painted with the bad apple brush. I am a banker and the general public perception is that we are evil, greedy little pigs. The media tend to report on huge bank profits and any mistake or misstep by any financial institution or it's employees. They don't report the the millions given to charity's, or the thousands of volunteer hours spent helping the community or even doing a good job - like giving a loan to a young RCMP so he can go to depot and know that his family can make ends meet while he is making a meager wage. This is our fault as the viewing public for watching the "bad" stories and not the feel good stories. BUT I do want to be informed of what's going on in my community and if there are people that have a lot of power and carry lethal weapons abusing that power. There needs to be more transparency from the law enforcement agencies. Recently 3 officers in my community were charged, through an ASIRT investigation, with assault. These officers were not suspend with pay or even put on desk duty - they were actually put in higher positions one being moved to major crimes division. There has not been a trial and maybe (hopefully) these officers will be found not guilty, but until that time how can our community truly feel safe? The media reports (from our local paper) have been very fair I believe, but there has been no help from the media people at the police station. The newspaper even ran an article telling us that they were trying to get the story but they were basically told that they could not have the ASIRT report even though it is a public document. Then there was another incident involving 3 separate officers where a complaint was made, the chief of police declined to do an investigation so the decision was appealed and taken to (I believe) the attorney general and he demanded that an investigation be done. The investigation has just been started so, again hopefully, these officers will be vindicated. That is 6 officers in one community that were potentially involved in serious offenses and the police department will only stand by there men with no explanation or mitigating circumstances to put the public at ease....

    ReplyDelete

  96. Great blog post. I have the utmost respect for officers of the law - my brother is military and we have many friends in the RCMP as well as municipal forces. I teach my young son to appreciate and respect the police. Unfortunately many professions are painted with the bad apple brush. I am a banker and the general public perception is that we are evil, greedy little pigs. The media tend to report on huge bank profits and any mistake or misstep by any financial institution or it's employees. They don't report the the millions given to charity's, or the thousands of volunteer hours spent helping the community or even doing a good job - like giving a loan to a young RCMP so he can go to depot and know that his family can make ends meet while he is making a meager wage. This is our fault as the viewing public for watching the "bad" stories and not the feel good stories. BUT I do want to be informed of what's going on in my community and if there are people that have a lot of power and carry lethal weapons abusing that power. There needs to be more transparency from the law enforcement agencies. Recently 3 officers in my community were charged, through an ASIRT investigation, with assault. These officers were not suspend with pay or even put on desk duty - they were actually put in higher positions one being moved to major crimes division. There has not been a trial and maybe (hopefully) these officers will be found not guilty, but until that time how can our community truly feel safe? The media reports (from our local paper) have been very fair I believe, but there has been no help from the media people at the police station. The newspaper even ran an article telling us that they were trying to get the story but they were basically told that they could not have the ASIRT report even though it is a public document. Then there was another incident involving 3 separate officers where a complaint was made, the chief of police declined to do an investigation so the decision was appealed and taken to (I believe) the attorney general and he demanded that an investigation be done. The investigation has just been started so, again hopefully, these officers will be vindicated. That is 6 officers in one community that were potentially involved in serious offenses and the police department will only stand by there men with no explanation or mitigating circumstances to put the public at ease....

    ReplyDelete
  97. Well written Brittany. I am also the wife of a member and with each shift my husband leaves home for, I always have to wonder if this will be the day my husband is MURDERED on the job because someone out there hates the uniform.

    ReplyDelete
  98. I suspect the vast majority of Canadians hold the utmost respect for anyone in uniform, whether it is conservation, bylaw, city, provincial, or federal. It takes a very special type of person to undertake the duties and responsibilities an officer takes on each shift.

    Of course nobody wants that speeding ticket, impaired, etc; but we all make mistakes, and the vast majority will pay their fines or do their time, and strive to live a better life in the future. The use of bad judgement includes officers too, nobody is perfect.

    Wonder how many of these recent incidents in Alberta was the perpetrator under the influence alcohol or drugs? I suspect most, but then there are those situations of crime in progress, gang related, drugs, armed robbery, violent crimes, etc, where the criminals interest in fleeing to get away outweighs applied sober common sense.

    Is the media biased in what it prints? Definitely, the primary goal is to draw a viewing audience. Does the media hold a negative bias of police officers? I don't believe so. Yes, there has been lots of police involved incidents lately. Yes, those incidents have created more public discussion over the severity and frequency in which they have been happening. Has the number of situations increased? I do not know, but looking up the statistics would be interesting. What are we looking up now? The incidents of crime, the incidents of crime against police officers? The incidents of general complaints against police officers? The incidents of less than lethal force (taser/baton)? The incidents of lethal force? The incidents of complaints of excessive force? Depending on which variable researched, it can present a significantly different data set and story to follow. Some could say data points will say crime incidents requiring lethal force have increased, and support the need for bigger policing budgets. Some could say data points will say more lives are saved because less-lethal force incidents have increased while lethal force incidents have decreased. Some could say data points say while there has been a decrease in general complaints against the police, there has been an increase in the number of excessive force complaints, so police are being more violent. Now none of these points as stated are true, I have not pulled any statistical data to reference or back up these statements. But rather I am trying to show that depending on which data is examined, and what it is compared to, can lead the same factual data to tell two completely different end stories. In this practice, the media is a pro, and knows what to say, how to say it, what not to say, and when not to say it to make the story as attractive as possible.

    We can go back and forth on what is causing the changes in social perceptions of policing. Some arguing its a biased media, the other side arguing it is unethical policing practices, but at the end of the day, without empirical statistical proof of a position held, proven to be isolated and uninfluenced by secondary or tertiary contributing factors. All we really are doing is stating personal and public opinion positions.

    How can we better protect our officers and also add additional accountability and transparency to the difficult job they do? Put cameras on the officers, some states have already begun piloting this practice. When they are on duty, they are on camera. Can't accuse them of wrong doing, its on video to be reviewed. Ends a lot of wasted court time and false accusations, plus those very few who are found guilty, won't repeat offend. Anything short of this type of solution will allow for media and the general public's perceptions to manipulate the end story. The police officer could look like the hero, or look like the aggressor. With a camera involved, the whole story, as it happened is right there in video and audio. No conjecture involved, and our officers could be safer as a result through remote monitoring at dispatch, etc when they are on a call and interactive with a situation.

    ReplyDelete
  99. I know several very decent people who chose to be RCMP officers because they wanted to make a difference, and for them I have definite respect. I have no doubt they are following procedure and in the mind set to do right. I wouldn't be fearful of them in a situation where they are empowered and armed. That said, I also personally know an individual who is a relatively new officer and chose the career primarily to move provinces as a means to avoid his parental responsibilities and is a very deceptive, narrow minded and volatile person. It's unfortunate that a few can leave people fearful and disrespectful of the whole, but it does, and I now am not as trusting of who the RCMP has chosen to protect us and have less respect for the organization. I think in general professions will get some individuals who are really committed and some who have no business being there. Unfortunately people seem more apt to spread and discuss their negative experiences be it through personal conversations or the media. I do wonder though if the RCMP in their strong need for new members aren't being critical enough when choosing possible candidates for depot....maybe a few less bad apples would leave a better a comfort level,garnish more respect and subsequently less reactionary fearful responses.

    ReplyDelete
  100. very well said!!!! I am so sick of hearing about these great people that are upstanding citizens who would never do anything to warrant use of force by the police, when in actuality they have a record longer then my arm!!!! What people need to remember is that for the majority of the police officers, they do their job to protect you and me because they want to, it sure isn't for the millions they make. How many of us would want to deal with what they deal with on a daily basis? I for one am not cut out to be a cop, but I sure appreciate all they do and am happy to know they are they at the other end of 911 if needed.
    Just a question to all those haters and bashers out there....If you hate the cops so much, then I guess you would never call them for help....right?

    ReplyDelete
  101. The media on so many occasions have written biased reports with the apparent intent to diminish public respect for our officers and with growing success.

    Yesterday Jesse Kline of the National Post wrote a scathing article about the Toronto Police Department causing a man to lose his job after they reported to his employer what he’d written on Twitter and paralleled it to the shooting of the knife wielding bus patron. The writer inferred that the public views the police as thugs.

    Jesse Kline: Mr. Lube tweeter behind ‘spliff’ callout loses job, while Sammy Yatim's shooter collects paycheques http://natpo.st/19yqKz3

    I cannot speak as an officer, but as a citizen. One who is becoming increasingly saddened by media reports that only fall short of inciting sheer hatred for our officers.

    By all means weed out the few bad eggs, but don’t paint them all with the same brush and force them to walk on eggshells. We need an effective police force! Not one that is compelled to proceed with caution in every instance because of the media frenzy to sway public opinion. The result of that will place their lives in danger as well as ours.

    Remove our support and we WILL lose our good officers; it’s as simple as that.
    Stand behind them and we just might manage to keep some.

    ReplyDelete
  102. As a recently retired firefighter, I worked with both EPS and RCMP members, along with the military, I consider those that choose the Police service as a calling and a career to be true heroes.

    ReplyDelete
  103. I am in love with this article. So well said!

    I am sick to death of people slamming police, military, etc and it is refreshing to see an article in defense of these awesome heroes!

    Thank you for writing this piece. :)

    ReplyDelete
  104. I read about the incident moments after it happened. There was no delay reporting this.
    I was a police reporter for years. I would often find myself defending police officers in the media and in public. While I have a tremendous amount of respect for police officers and the work they do, the fact they risk their lives each day, they must also bear some responsibility for the way they are portrayed in the media. There have been far too many incidents in recent years of police, and they are not the majority, abusing their power. I, as a journalist, have seen it and been a victim of it.
    And to suggest that the media should ignore what family members or friends say because the police can't or won't speak is foolish and naive. I understand your frustration, but this article came across to me as someone who has a chip on their shoulder.
    My best wishes to the injured officer. No person, a member of the thin blue line or the public, should have fallen victim to such an an act.

    ReplyDelete
  105. An RCMP husband also totally agrees.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Thank you to everyone who commented and took the time to read this. I am now closing the comments section because frankly, it's getting so far away from the question I posed in the blog and downright hateful.

    I really do thrive on educated debate.. for and against what I've said in my blog. I have and opinion and I've posted it here on my blog. I encourage you all to do the same if you feel like you need an outlet to vent.

    And the end of the day I still stand 100% behind how I feel and what I've said, but am thankful to the media people who gave their side of the story.

    The comments section is now closed.

    ReplyDelete
  107. A fantastic article, check it out!

    http://m.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/no-police-officer-wants-to-use-deadly-force-please-dont-rush-to-judgement/article13809580/?service=mobile

    ReplyDelete
  108. Back in the days, I worked and lived in native communities. Guns were locked away in the detachment safe – all I had was a flashlight that in extreme measures was gripped within a closed fist for added weight. In over three years, I had to use that method very few times and only because the receiving end was drunk beyond being able to recognise the yellow stripe.

    I was the sole police officer in two of those postings and today it takes dozens of armour-equipped replacements to do the job. I’m not talking about the March-West here – this was in the seventies. I’m not suggesting we go back to Bobby style patrols but violence begets violence and there’s been a slow slip down that slope over the years. Heck, the RCMP has even publicised the purchase of GI Joe vehicles that will be used once in a blue moon. When we needed that kind of equipment in days past, we would borrow it from the military and return it after the event passed. That way, the public got the sense that we were civilian police officers that could bring out the heavy machinery only when needed, but returned to our more civil role once the emergency was over. Now, you have regular patrol officers decked out in combat gear regularly patrolling the streets of the nation leaving the general impression that we combat crime instead of investigating it.

    The situation needs to be progressively defused and I don’t necessarily mean going down the community-policing route - that’s just a buzzword invented by sociologists. I’ll leave to others to figure it out OR they can just continue down the same route and things will get far worse before getting any better.

    I don’t want to rain on your parade here – you’re comments are very valid and generally the press does take the easy out. That’s the problem; everyone is going down that street these days. How many times do we hear on the news statements taken from ‘social media’ as fact. Or, the press relying on the crackpots with a computer access as their reference to public opinion. Social media is not the ‘general public’. You just have to read the comments section below any article in online outlets and it’s obvious that only the flies in the milk float to the surface. Their distinctive colour distracts from the pale background and we quickly forget that 99% is still good milk. At least, that’s the way things were in my grandfather’s dairy barn. We would remove the flies and drink the unpasteurised milk and low and behold, most of us are still alive. We didn’t throw out the baby in the wash!

    OK, I’ll go back to my pasture and stop the reminiscing - as you youngsters now add at the end of everything: I was just sayin…

    An old bison

    ReplyDelete
  109. Thank-you, from a fellow police wife who hears the same negative statements daily about those "damn police officers" pulling people over for speeding (illegal), for giving them a ticket because their license sticker or driver's license is expired, etc. - Perhaps we ARE biased, but isn't everyone? When that teenager in Toronto was "gunned down" the first thought was how the police acted irrationally, but not about the fact that the teenager was known to have gang affiliations, and even posted several things to facebook etc. about gangs, and gun violence. We didn't hear that part of it. We WON'T hear that part, because it doesn't fit the "image" people want to have of the people that put their lives on the line daily to try to protect the lives of others.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Thanks, from another fellow spouse of a member. <3

    ReplyDelete
  111. Perception is everything in this new age even if there's no substance behind it. Personally I don't like the black an white squad cars - they look too American and they've had problems with their police.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Wonderfully written Brittany and I agree with every word written. Thank-you for those kind words.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Brittany every word of your article is correct and beautifully written. Thank-you for those kind words that most or us never see or hear. GW.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Hi Brittany, I'm writing to ask your permission to epost "Surviving Average" in the Pincher Creek Voice, an online-only newspaper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  115. Excellent article! You've identified a dangerous trend which I call "media demonization".

    ReplyDelete
  116. Excellent article! You've identified a dangerous trend in much of today's media where it is popular to demonize the police.

    ReplyDelete
  117. LOVE this! Is there a way I can message you directly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bet! bri_hunter@hotmail.com

      Delete
    2. Ashley you can use the email address above. :)

      Delete