After years of compiling thousands of news articles about me and being talked about and quoted in several books, and never, not once being called, I decided to finish the book I started shortly after my 6 years as President of the Toronto Police Association. The politically charged book recounts some of my experiences in the world of Police, Power and Politics.
COPFATHER is a revealing look at what it takes to survive and succeed as a Police Union leader in a major North American city.
They say the firefighters are running to the fire but the cops are always running to the shots fired. The difference is that, in respect to the firefighters they are running to a fire once a week while we’re running to the shots fired everyday.
There has to be something warlike about your personality that when people are fleeing a situation you are running towards it. You have to have that singular sense that you have no choice and you are compelled to move towards the danger. You can’t be a pacifist, and at times you have to be an honest thug. Sometimes we have to use physical control as a group, which is what the rules in place dictate. We the police, under certain circumstances are allowed to use lethal force. Think about that for a second. By law, you have to as a cop be ready to wound, maim or kill someone or otherwise face the consequences put in place for failing your duty. Nobody else in society carries that intense burden of responsibility on a daily basis. The military is endowed with those powers but only when we are at war. We are the only ones that could do it in our society at certain times. It depends on the way things play out and when we have to use lethal force to kill, it weighs on you, I don’t give a fuck who you are.
Our courts in Canada can’t even deliver capital punishment, but we can take life and that is the ultimate situation for anybody in society. It’s absolute and no judges or politicians wield that amount of power. The police officer accepts that it’s something that you’re trained to do, but you never want to do and that never gets spoken about enough. Nobody shows up at work to take a life or to ever exercise that power. The mental toll on you after this type of incident can have the deepest impact on you for the rest of your life. This is a reason why we at the TPA pushed for the best available care and medical benefits for the rank and file. Cops have to be not only physically strong but equally strong mentally.
I learned it was a violent world very quickly down at 51 Division, especially coming from a small town like Oshawa. I was always amazed at what one human being could do to another in a number of bad circumstances. Whether drunk or on drugs or sober, in domestic situations it was just unbelievable what can happen when rage and emotion take over. You see people living in poverty and desperation and on top of that, tearing each other apart every night and you are called in to these terrible situations and a lot of disturbing things can stay with you a long time.