To the editor:
As a retired USA police officer/supervisor, I agree with everything you said in your May 4 column, Doing A Proper Job Transcends Nationality. (Mark that one down, a cop agreeing with a media person.) The old requirement that one must be a Canadian citizen to serve in the RCMP indeed makes no practical sense.
True enough, “Cops do a job most of us would be unwilling to do.” That, plus today’s climate, certainly makes law enforcement a less attractive career than in years past. This is even more so in the USA, where cops are under more and more scrutiny in use of force situations. Criminals have become more violent and less respectful of authority, taking advantage of the fact that officers are more restricted, and in fact hesitant, to do what needs to be done to curtail bad behaviour. I am not suggesting excessive force or improper conduct on the part of police be allowed, but I am saying that the pendulum has swung a bit too far off centre.
The skill sets of police are the same within the free world. I have talked with many RCMP officers, and constables in the United Kingdom. We pretty much agree: “Same rubbish, different country.” Having served most of my career in Portland, Oregon, I can say that city officers there have great training, are highly competent in tactical situations of all kinds, and, yes, also are very community-policing oriented. A lot has been going on in Portland lately that negatively impacts the police. May I suggest that the RCMP look at recruiting some of the excellent USA police officers to help fill their ranks? I’ll bet a few would seriously look at serving in Canada.
Bob Sherman, Kelowna