We are generally well served

First I acknowledge that there are individuals within the police community with prejudices including racist members. I am also white, male and well past 65 so clearly observing from a different perspective than Black, Asian, and Indigenous Canadians. I have never been a policeman, but have been a friend or neighbour to many, including one friend killed by a robber trying to escape a bar holdup.  

I was not able to determine the many statistics for Canada needed to put the recent viral snapshots on police actions into perspective. There are numbers for the USA, we often parallel them, so an estimate of 10% of USA annual experience may help to approximate the extent of the problem our Police now face on a daily basis.

Total active Police, 110,000 (USA 1,100,000)

Total Police interactions of all kinds 9,100,000 (USA 91,000,000)

Total number of deaths at the hands of Police {CTV} 2017 – June 2019 (2.5 years) is 100 or 40 per year 0.00044%.

Total Investigated Complaints against Police on arrests 42,000 (USA 420,000) or 0.46%

Total officers seriously injured or killed on duty (shot, knifed, assaulted, beaten, etc) during arrests/investigations 6,200 (USA 62,000) or 5.64% of all officers.

Our police clearly have a job that is dangerous, and can explode into their injury or death any given moment; when a car is stopped for any reason, when one or both parties to a domestic dispute turn on the police with violence and weapons. When answering a “wellness call” for the sweetest, kindest, most generous person, who has been off their medications for a week and reverted into a violent, manic bent on harming whoever is in their sight. Is it any wonder they approach every situation with extreme caution?

When a suspect is stopped and runs, the immediate thought is they are likely wanted on an arrest warrant for something – it could be anything from murder to missed alimony payments. Police must look to protect the public at large, from a possible dangerous criminal. In those cases the civilian  has elevated the initial stop from enquiry to fugitive, with the corresponding change in tactics and risks during an arrest.

While no one condones the deaths of Mr. Choudry, Mr. Levi, or Ms. Moore; and certainly not situations like George Lloyd’s manner of death, the statistics show the police are far too often the victim! Like Heidi Stevenson in Nova Scotia, or the 3 dead officers and 2 wounded in Moncton, or 4 dead officers in Mayerthorpe.

Individuals and some specific police agencies are prejudiced and racist; these need immediate correction - no more studies.

Police are high risk, front line workers protecting us from those who violate the law. Without them who will protect the other front line emergency personnel, fire/rescue, ambulance, emergency departments and social workers who answer medical and mental health calls, all of whom are at grave risk without a police back up.

We are generally well served by our police, thank you for being there.

Doug Waines, West Kelowna

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