The recent calls for the defunding of police and the resulting dialogue have prompted some interesting questions. In a recent editorial in the Citizen, Neil Godbout mentioned non-violent police calls that could be dealt with by unarmed police. Property crime and traffic enforcement were two of the examples he used.
While I don't disagree with the notion of lesser crimes being handled by a different type of enforcement, I do disagree with traffic stops as being non-violent. I'm sure that after this editorial was written and published, Mr. Godbout must have rolled his eyes with the expectant responses he knew he would receive after the incident on Dawson Road. A routine traffic stop resulted in a chase and arrest of a man armed with a handgun, over sixty rounds of ammunition and the culprit was wearing body armour.
Whenever a cop answers a call, the officer has no idea what he or she will walk into and we have many examples of Canadian police officers answering calls where they have been ambushed and outgunned. The recent acquisition of military carbines by Canadian police is a response to the sheer number of incidents that resulted in the deaths of police.
I applaud any action that results in accountability for any officer that crosses the line, as there is in any profession, but it seems to me, that far too many knee jerk reactions, are taking centre stage. No police officer should be forced to walk into the unknown, armed with a firm tone and hopes and prayers. Domestic violence, traffic stops, and property crime, are all non-violent, until they become violent, and police need to be equipped for any eventuality, not what statistics might suggest will happen.
I wish that the real numbers were released, the numbers that show for every incident of police brutality, racism, poor conduct, there are thousands of examples of the police doing their job, and doing it right.
Again, I like Mr. Godbout’s thinking and there is merit to further consideration but I ask anyone who isn't a police officer, if they would want to enter the unknown with nothing more than a ticket book.