WORD ON THE STREET – FROM A COP

I get numerous emails everyday from officers voicing their concerns about policing and commenting on a blog I have written or issues that need to be addressed. Here is one of them.

Craig Bromell

“Thank you for this article, and for shedding some light on this frustrating situation.

As a police officer in the GTA, I can attest to the fact that the overwhelming majority of us are frustrated, disheartened and discouraged by this impending change to how it is we proactively gather information. We truly believe that the previous system was sufficient and provided the requisite ‘checks & balances’ to identify if or when individual officers may be abusing their authority and misconstruing the appropriate application of proactive street checks.

Sadly now, should I choose to proactively engage with that suspicious person hanging around a closed industrial plaza in the middle of the night, or that individual parked in a darkened parking lot with a child in the wee hours of the night, before I even utter a word I must first provide information that speaks to my identity. I must inform them of their rights to counsel and that they do not have to speak with me whatsoever. And finally, I must provide them with a document with instructions on how to complain about my conduct. Then and only then, can I attempt to ascertain what it is they’re doing and their identities.

Like many I am an officer with years and years on the job.  Why would I or those like me even entertain the notion of proactive policing, with great risk of unnecessary disciplinary actions being levied against us?

While it pains me to say this, forces both internally (weak police management) and externally (agenda-based interest groups and politicians seeking the path of least resistance) have indeed caused a great many of us to withdraw from any proactive policing whatsoever. We have been forced to simply react and respond after the fact.  We do this not out of protest. But rather out of a sense of self-preservation. Most of all, we recognize and fear that such poorly constructed and far reaching policy changes will not provide added protection to the very groups to whom the politicians and special interest groups say they are seeking to assist. Conversely, this shift in law enforcement mindset will absolutely have the tragic, albeit unattended consequence of setting up a constellation of circumstances that will absolutely further victimize those very groups to which this quagmire was intended to safeguard.

Again, a heartfelt thank you for speaking to this topic.”

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