Canadians are known world-wide for being fair and kind. That reputation is generally deserved and reflected all across Canada. So when did so many start accepting opinions as facts? When people scroll their social media, reading only sensationalized headlines and accepting them as a truth without reading further, we lose both our fairness and kindness.
A too-common narrative right now, rather than waiting for a thorough and transparent investigation or facts, is to judge and vilify our Prince George RCMP officers in a court of public opinion. This not only hurts these RCMP members and their families, but others unjustly lose respect for police as well and community safety is put at risk.
Last week, two police officers were murdered in Edmonton, doing exactly what Prince George members do every day: showing up to a call where someone needs help, putting their life on the line for you. In the last three months of 2022, we saw five police officers murdered. They all showed up for their shift that day; all went out to serve their community.
Prince George RCMP members leave their children, wives, husbands, showing up each day to protect people in your community. Their goal, a goal that no other profession faces, is to not be murdered on their shift and to come home to their family. Yes, there are other dangerous jobs: firefighting, logging, underwater welders among many. But they are not being purposefully murdered.
The brave and hardworking women and men of the Prince George RCMP understand these risks, and yet continue to show up for you ever day. Recently, they’ve been the subject of presumptive headlines, irate phone calls, name-calling on the street, and other abuse. Police are people, too. They have feelings, hearts, and care deeply about others. Deeply enough to keep showing up to serve in difficult circumstances.
I know that many who read this support the police as well as the importance of fairness and will agree with me. If you do, please show your appreciation. Thank your local RCMP members. Wave to them. Even just a smile means a lot. When dealing with people in crisis day in and day out — some of whom are having the worst days of their lives — a smile or kind word from a stranger can be the highlight of a police officer’s day. For those of you who don’t agree, and don’t appreciate police, these hard-working and highly trained women and men will still come and help you when you call 911.
I am an RCMP officer, currently serving as a board director for the National Police Federation. I have spent years working frontline policing. I have feared for my life at work on several occasions. I have kissed my daughters’ foreheads leaving for work thousands of days and nights, each time hoping it wouldn’t be the last time I got to do so. I have also received a smile from a stranger that kept me going.
Please respect these brave men and women who serve your community wholeheartedly. I unequivocally stand behind the Members who are currently serving your community, and you should too.
Chris Voller, Director, Pacific-North Region
National Police Federation