Police shootings and killings of citizens

Duncan – I was talking with a longserving RCMP officer at one of Duncan’s summer music festivals a few years back. Both he and I were concerned about the quality of police officer that is coming out of training these past years.

We both agreed that RCMP training seems to be downplaying the importance of crisis management. RCMP training programs are not teaching these officers the art of handling difficult situations, over and above the use of taser, hand gun, or even dog.

We both could not see the sense in officers going into a mobile home, guns fully locked and loaded, only to deal with a mentally unstable or psychotic person. I mean, why not send him a pizza with a tranquillizer in it, and get him to a hospital for proper meds and treatment? Instead, the officers shot and killed the poor fellow who was, of course, delusional.

And the case of the Polish visitor to the Vancouver Airport who only needed to be reassured, not provoked and tasered.

Crisis management isn’t rocket science, it only takes thoughtfulness and respect for the human condition.

As far as the shooting of a drunk driver goes, the same reasoning holds true. These officers are not being trained to handle crisis situations with compassion and forethought. Instead, they are being trained to draw the gun, send the dog, or use the taser first.

I am not denying that specific situations do require force, but let us remember that less than 100 years ago, the police force, pressured by big business, used deadly force to mow down and kill hundreds of striking union workers who only desired an eight hour work day with reasonable overtime pay.

Is it not important to demand proper crisis management training from our well-paid police force?

Bill Woollam

Duncan