Chapter 1. Why I Appreciate Police.

I have always tried to be a good person and see the best in others, even when people said I was wrong and being too kind.

Guess I figured I should treat others as I would wish to be treated, see them as I would hope to be seen.

I discovered early on that there are many types of people in the world.

It’s not to say I did not get hurt, beaten, neglected, but that is not what this post is about.

Via my job I encountered people who were from all walks of life, they could be in a rush, hurt, upset, lost, angry, drunk, stoned and in need of assistance that only the police could give.

When someone swore at me, I would say thank you, and in the pause that usually followed my words I would suggest that  we discuss what the problem was. After all, I understood they were very upset and usually the surprise of my response allowed them to focus on the problem, not their anger.

The response they expected was not the one they got…sometimes that calmed them down and sometimes it did not.

The point was, it was not me that they were mad at, so taking it personal was normal but hardly helpful.

All the things I saw made me admire how the Police can cross all the boundaries of the various realities and deal with people in situations and circumstances, as best they can.

I am not saying all Cops are perfect and handle everything perfectly, because they are human, and again that is something to be thankful for as this allows them to treat people humanely, with care and consideration despite all the crap that they see.

How hard is it to do that, when they know what people are capable of?

Looking around I find myself wondering how they do it, when people can seem so normal, but their thinking is shaped by a very different sense of reality.

Not sure I will trust anyone ever again.

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Hands Up, Baby Hands Up……….

Hands Up, Baby Hands Up………..

OK. Today I’m going to start with a quick “show of hands” type thing.

Hands up all of you that think that the 20% cuts to the police are not having an adverse effect on the way that the police are able to do their job.

I see. Interesting. Mr Cameron, Mrs May and Mr Winsor, please put your hands down and sit on them. Now remain in that position until I’ve finished. Thank you.

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I thought that due to the cuts imposed on the police, in the name of “reform”, that things would get worse, before they got better, and not just for the police.

In my opinion, the first duty of any government, is to protect its people.

In this country, this protection is usually carried out by the police and the armed services.

But how can the police protect the public if they can’t protect their own?

Quite recently, a colleague of mine had his push bike stolen from his shed, which he duly reported to the police.

The following day, while off duty, he saw a youth riding said bike and gave chase on foot. Having caught up with the youth, he identified himself as a police officer, phoned the local constabulary, and detained the youth. He had caught up with the youth at a place that would appear to have been close to the youth’s home address, as it would appear that the commotion had been heard by people in the houses nearby. (The youth had been proclaiming his innocence at stealing the bike, and had been trying to make good his escape).

Another male, then appeared from one of the houses nearby, brandishing an axe! He told my colleague to let the youth go. With no back up, no PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), and still no sign of the local constabulary, He let the youth go. After all, the odds weren’t on his side. After letting go of the youth, the youth then picked up a length of wood and struck out at my colleague, hitting him on the arm, and shouted “Have your f*****g bike back!”

Fortunately, my colleague was not seriously injured, and he got his bike back. But my point is this:

He’d found himself in a position whereby he had detained a suspected offender, identified himself as a police officer, and was then confronted by a male with an axe. There was no back up, and no sign of the local police, to which he’d explained everything on his mobile phone.

And all of this took place not 200 metres from an SNT station.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. He does not blame the local police for not getting to his aid promptly. He knows how thinly we’ve been stretched and the conditions in which we have to work. He ended up with a grazed arm. It could have been a whole lot worse.

I have read about too many good, brave officers who have been been killed, or seriously injured, whether on duty or off, in the past few years. I don’t want to be reading about any more.

It’s a sad and desperate state of affairs, when the local police can’t get to the aid of anybody being confronted by someone with an axe, let alone one of their own.

These are the time we live in, people. And it’s not looking like things are about to improve any time soon. Millions of pounds cut from police budgets over the past two years, with millions of pounds of more cuts to come over the next couple of years.

Read it and weep folks.

Oh. Before I forget. Mr Cameron, Mrs May and Mr Winsor, you can stop sitting on your hands now.

This post is from SteelRiverBoy

Who has a marvelous blog, worth checking out.

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My thoughts….

Some down to earth reality about cutting back on the numbers of Police Officers – and the cuts are not finished yet.

My comments can not really express just how upset this situation makes me.

I am very thankful that Steely allowed me to re-blog this post…I hope some people find it illuminating of the issues going on and worse, an indication of what is coming.

At some point, the safety of the public needs to be more important than bailing out banks, or raises for Politicians, doesn’t it?

Maybe that’s just me.

Equality. Part 1. Human Beings.

~ This is just my viewpoint – some folks are not going to like it or agree with it –  I respect other people’s viewpoints hopefully that will be reciprocated.  The use of the word “system” in this post means Government, Politics and general structure of society, not Law Enforcement or Military.~

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When I was 16, a “card carrying member” of the Canadian Communist Party spent hours trying to convince me that my views on Politics were not fully fleshed out. How could I not understand that people should all be equal and share the wealth?

Bruce was a charmer, he converted an older friend of my mom’s but there were too many flaws and points he could not get by my young but not entirely naive mind.

Bruce went on about equality of human beings, the sharing of everything curing poverty, crime and the rest of his views of perfection.

In theory, economic and real equality of persons sounds like nirvana but you see even as a teenager I could see the flaws. They appear when you introduce human beings to the mix as the overseers of the distribution of the wealth.  Bruce pointed out that my given example of one horrible deadly failure, Khmer Rouge, could not be expanded to apply to ALL.

It is true, you can not apply one example, experience or news report to everyone in a group (hold that thought for a later post), and I did not. My counter point had been that it is not the actuality of corruption that would halt my belief in such a totalitarian utopia, but the lack of examples of success, and instances where human frailties did not corrupt the system for someone’s gain. Either voluntarily or under threat.

You see there is a basic flaw in people, it shows with people differently, but they all spring forth from the mere, undeniable fact that we are all HUMAN.

There are no perfect human beings, because we all need to strive for something, and perfection is just one of the options available to work for.

Knowing that it is possible for people to follow either path, does not make me assume that any individual will automatically go down the wrong one.

Perhaps that is where Bruce and I differed inherently.

Bruce believed in the system, and saw people merely as cogs within it.

I believe in people, and see the system as what they struggle with to carry out good deeds, and help others.

Or alternately it is the system that gets used to the advantage of some over the majority, or corrupts the positive, twisting it to allow for someone to gain or prevail.

Equality exists, in ways today that it did not in my mother or grandmother’s day.

In THIS country, and most western ones, we are all equal under the law, we may all vote, receive an education, live free and strive to better our “situation” within the channels open to us.

Equality does not mean anyone is more equal, deserves more breaks because of a wrong done to a forefather or ancestor, if this was the case I would qualify as one of those deserving to be “more equal” as the wrongs done to my grandmother were done with government permission and encouragement 101 years ago, this year.

Equality means equal, not more equal, not more deserving nor does it mean hand ups or hand outs.

It means equal.

Things tend to happen in cycles, at some point they have to be broken, like the pendulum they swing back and forth until they hit the tipping point, and a reverse reaction occurs.

Did my grandmother deserve reparation for what she suffered? Sure. Others who survived those circumstances received it, she passed away before she knew she could, always blaming those who forced things on her as a child that she did not fully understand and costing her a family she loved.

Do I think I deserve to get a hand up because of what happened to her? No.

Equality may one day actually mean what it is, that two people are equal and treated fairly within the system of government we have, in any western country.

Some people took that sentence to mean something other than what it did.

Equality as human beings under the law is the simplest thing to acquire.

Being seen as equal, being treated fairly without personal bias or agenda, within that system or even the average workplace, that is where the friction starts.

The system is not meaning Law Enforcement in any way, shape or form but….that part of my thinking will be in a future post.

“Argumentum ad baculum”

As he steps out of his vehicle, snow crunches underfoot, the crispness of the air irritates his sore throat, this is the time of year he does not mind wearing the bullet proof vest despite the  bulkiness, it adds to keeping warm a bit, coughing slightly he heads into the imposing structure preparing to start his workday.

The doors close behind him but this is not where he stops being just a member of the public, that happened years ago, when he joined the force.  That day was the last day that he could ignore the problems of others if he wished, or speak out openly about his workplace, or bosses, just to give a couple examples of how life changes in the pursuit of the desire to serve the public.  That day he swore to uphold the law.

Over the years he has been shot, stabbed, beaten, threatened, had various disgusting liquids thrown at or on him, more than a few Officers die in the line of duty or the ones who took their own lives, and those are just the things I know, there are others I can guess at, but you see it’s not often discussed.  Work mainly stays at work.

When you hear someone bad mouthing the Police, you want to point out to them what they don’t see.  You know he won’t. They don’t. In some instances they can’t.

It is not that they exclude others from their day, so much as they need a break from it, home is a happy place and well there are just things you can’t share, if there were not, there would be no rules about what Police were allowed to say when not on the job about the job. Would there?

How was work?  Gets you a raised eyebrow and “it was work, the usual.”

Yes, that is why you have bruises, cuts and other Officers are calling to say “hi” (check on you more like).

It is not that he does not wish to share, but unless your working in the same type of environment, your reactions are not going to be theirs, grounded, accepted, and less emotional.

Yes dear, two guys came at me with knives, bit of a scuffle but it all came out right in the end…your not going to calmly ask if he wants a coffee and tell him how soon to dinner.

That only makes the next day more difficult because he is going to step out that door again, to go to work and he doesn’t need you envisioning imminent demise or fussing at him to change career.

The most interesting trick, is when you stop worrying as they leave, because it is possible you will never see them again, but you trust them and their fellow Officers, to do their best so they, more importantly he, will return home.

You depend on them to make sure they look after themselves, in whatever situation they face, so that they come home.

Trust.

That is a big word trust.

Years ago when he took the oath, put on the uniform, the public trust in him as a member of the Police was established, but also his trust in those he protected, others who issued the orders, and the ones who make the laws…it’s a circle…of which he willingly became a member, a public servant.

I can not speak for everyone, I would never dream of it, everyone lives, performs their jobs and enjoys the world differently…this is just a small slice of…this one ant, in the throng of thousands…not to be confused with any other worker ant.

What people do not see, or think about, is the intense firm belief in public service that he feels.  He is not alone, but everyone will have it in different hues.  He did not leave the military to join the Police force to make money, or gain prestige, he wanted to make a difference and he saw this as the way he could.

Of course the reasons that people do things, vary from person to person, this is merely what is so, in this instance. Ahh you see, it has trickled in, the awareness of how someone reading this views the Police and what they might say….shoo that’s not wanted here.  This is my post, my blog and I am allowed to say things that he can not.

He is a Police Officer, a LT no less, and unless he is on deaths door, or shot/stabbed/put in hospital, he goes to work.

He is very grounded, he does not take things personally that are said/done to him because he is a Police Officer, wearing the uniform. Sometimes the teflon slips and you see hurt but he shakes it off and continues his day.

He is a good person, he is not perfect, but he is good…he cares.

On the way home from work, stopping on the expressway to grab up a dog before it gets hit and taking it to it’s owner, a worried senior who feared her sole companion was gone forever.

Having neighbors rush out to him to get their dog from under the porch, because she is a senior citizen, she can’t and that dog is her life.

Calling the fire department before rushing into a neighbors house who has fallen asleep and set his chair on fire, getting both seniors out of the house and into his while the fire department sorts out the rest.

Going to work, as the higher ups cut back on staff and conditions deteriorate, meaning your Officers are at risk and some start getting hurt because someone higher up, does not know what they are doing.

During the heat wave, he goes out to do wellness checks, in winter it’s pulling people out of stuck cars during blizzards.

He goes to work when others are purposely staying off to protest the seriously unsafe conditions, not because he is not in agreement with his Officers but because he joined to be a Police Officer, and the public are his first concern.

He swore an oath.

He lost hours with his family to uphold it, which cost him in time with wife and kids, put a strain on relationships and yet he still puts that oath first.

Over 25 years on the job but he is going to lose his house because of the housing market dropping the value of the house to 1/3 of what it was when he bought it.  No perks or extra benefits, he is actually considering what he will do after retirement because his pension is not going to be enough.

He has not taken a vacation in a coons age.

Recently there was a horrific crime committed, the person accused of doing it is awaiting trial, and he was going over the reports, records and he had to stop, because the horrors he was reading upset him.  He has seen and been there enough, to be able to play the pleas for mercy over in his mind, and the sadness that children had to suffer, that the victims never had a chance to call for help…never had a chance at all really…brought tears to his eyes.  No you don’t get to know that because he doesn’t show it to anyone.

25 years plus on the job.

People like to generalize, tar the whole with the sins of the few, unless there is a fad or risk of seeming prejudiced.

The Police do not make the laws, that is what Politicians do, and Judges rule on.

So these people that most of us trust to protect us, to be there in crisis, usually depending on the other half to look after the family until they can get home…to enforce laws they do not make as fairly as possible, they are discriminated against due to their uniforms and career choice.

It is okay to generalize when you speak of the Police, where usually people will accept that individuals in any walk of life can and do make mistakes and it does not besmirch the whole.

It is okay to say and do things to Officers, that they would arrest you for if you did them to another private citizen.  That is finally changing however, in some instances turning the other cheek has been made redundant and and shown to be unsafe.  Abuse of Officers often ignored or encouraged by false public perception and over enthusiastic media wanting to push those headlines (unless they are about the media themselves all hinted wrongs by public servants are front page news).

All Police are not bad, the majority are good.

They step out their door knowing the uniform they are wearing immediately changes the perception of everyone they come in contact with.

Lately that perception has not been so favorable.

Lets try this for a second.

Allow me to put a dress code on you, give you a job to enforce rules I make. While I cut back on what you are paid, lessen the numbers of others who are performing that job with you, “trim” your support system and silence your ability to actually make anyone aware of how I am changing things so they are not safe for Officer or public alike.

Let people call you names, abuse you, threaten you, and yet require of you polite, courteous and diligent in service and response to the public.

I shall then say things that reflect negatively on the service in general, not because you have done a bad job, but because it suits whatever ends I have in affecting the viewpoint on the service.

You see I know that you can’t stand up and say, Hey folks…look at what is going on…and give examples.

Do you know what else I know?

That the character of the majority of the people in those uniforms is such, that they will continue to do their jobs, despite everything that says its going to crap and getting more dangerous, because they actually know what honor is.

They took an oath.

Their families did not, but they support them, because that is what families do.

Trust.

The Officers who take that oath, trust the public, the bosses, the politicians and the system because as they join it, support it, try to make it better, they are giving up more than just time to a career.

They are taking on what society needs them to, so the rest of us can sleep, eat, work and play in relative safety.

They do not cease to be human because they swear an oath but seeing how they are often treated, I start to wonder about that.

The public complain about the Police, but the PUBLIC are the only ones that can make the Politicians and bosses do what is necessary to allow the Officers to do their jobs to the public’s benefit.

However the public can’t make fully informed decisions because those in uniform are not encouraged to share what they know, see, and feel would make things better or complain about what is making things worse.

He is not complaining.

He knows better.

He considers it all, another day at work.

I am a member of the public, I am complaining, because if this was any other segment of the public, people would be openly discussing things from both sides, and the public would be able to be informed, and not have to trust that a politician or lackey is telling us the truth.

See I was raised to believe that they are “our” Police, and as they are responsible for our safety, we are responsible to ensure they as a part of the public, are treated fairly and are safe as well.

There is not much to be said for being in the minority, except that eventually what you ignore, like that leak in the ceiling, is going to become a bigger issue and cost you a lot more money.

And like the estimate for the roof or the medical opinion, things that matter, should not all come from one side, one evaluation or without the sharing of information.

The average Police Officer is not saying anything, for the most part they are required to be silent, or else.

Argumentum ad baculum.

When those who enforce my rights and freedoms when another is physically impeding either, or my safety for that matter, are not allowed the privilege of the rights to free speech and safe work environment…

…who do they have to go to but me, and the rest of us, to give voice where they have been silenced?

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I am not a Police Officer, that is why I CAN say these things without concern for my job…because I am concerned about those who do the job, whether I know them or not.

© Simple Lady 2013 – so not one else gets blamed but me.