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Needlepoint Class - Chuck Poulsen  

Cop numbers crashing

The Kelowna RCMP detachment has been hit by more injuries and illness since Supt. Bill McKinnon became the head cop almost 10 years ago.

The number of officers on reduced duties is also at a decade-long high.

The total number of cops not on the beat is 19 per cent of the 214 member force.

Twenty-five, or 12 per cent, are off the job through illness or injury.

There are also 15 members on reduced assignment, such as answering phones and doing paperwork.

That is almost double the 10 percent industry average, which includes public sector workers who take a day off if they run out of toothpaste in the morning.

Good thing it’s winter when there isn’t as much need for police protection compared with the tourist months.

"We'd be in a bit of trouble if it were summer," said McKinnon. "If an officer needs surgical treatment, they are encouraged to do it in the fall to be ready July."

Adds Insp. Rick Flewelling: "When you have 25 people on short or long term disability, that's a concern. That's the most since I've been here for two years."

Whether this is just happenstance or there is an underlying reason is a guess.

McKinnon said the detachment has a large number of young officers who tend to be more active in sports. Police are encouraged to stay in shape off the job.

"We’ve had a rash of minor injuries on and off the job. We want young, athletic people but they may get hurt playing soccer or another sport," McKinnon said.

There are many reasons for a cop being off work, from post traumatic stress to pregnancies. One officer is off on paternity leave.

It's the long-term disabilities that mostly worry the detachment.

The post traumatic stress problem, perhaps after a shooting or investigations involving brutality, especially with kids in the mix, can be hard - maybe impossible - to overcome.

"Maybe they have been involved in a horrific murder," said McKinnon. "They can't sleep. Sometimes it doesn't occur until years later. Everyone handles it differently. I feel for them."

I know a former officer, now long off the force, who went through this.

"There was a time when I was seriously considering suicide," he said. "I just try not to think about it."

McKinnon has the option of borrowing members from another detachment but there is a shortage in most places and it's expensive.

If McKinnon is able to find a spare officer, the detachment has to pay a per diem cost including lodging and meals. Cost: $250 a day for a borrowed cop.

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The next time you see a cyclist wasting your tax dollar on Kelowna's expensive bike lanes, consider this:

A new study indicates that bike riders - pinkos on bikes, says Don Cherry - may have trouble reproducing their own kind.

Cycling for as little as five hours a week can diminish a man's fertility.

Previous studies have shown that professional cyclists are likely to suffer lower sperm counts and poor semen quality.

Now, it's been found that even the sperm of casual bike riders are being subjected to a fatal pounding.

Boston University surveyed 2,200 men attending fertility clinics.

Sperm counts were the same for men who exercised a lot and those who didn't, except for bicycle riders.

Men who said they spent at least five hours a week cycling were twice as likely to have both a low sperm count and sperm that couldn't even do the backstroke.

This may be due to trauma or temperature rises in the scrotum, say the researchers.

Kelowna City Hall has gone nuts (pardon the expression) over bike lanes.

Stop building these lanes, I say, and make these pinkos men again!


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