Letters to the Editor

Respect needs to be earned

Re: Insight into ‘what were they thinking’ (Column, NewsLeader, Feb. 9)

The column by Andrew Holota made me shake my head.

To provide insight into what motivates police officers and the challenges they face in the course of doing their jobs, he mentions things like a sense of “right and wrong” and “making the world a better place,” and also “tedious paperwork” and “12-hour shifts”—all in a feeble attempt to elicit compassion and support from the general public. This is the same public that must tolerate abuse, discrimination, intimidation, excessive force and disrespect from many of these officers.

The officers have to deal with wife beaters and drunk drivers, you say? Well, it’s unfortunate that the general public is often dealt with in the same way as those people that commit those abhorrent crimes. We end up tarred with the same brush.

I believe many of these officers simply give up on humanity. Everyone is guilty. Everyone is lying.  Everyone has an excuse. I thought we were all innocent until proven guilty. 

Excuses is all I am hearing to justify the way police deal with the general public. These officers have tedious paperwork? I am self-employed, and so do I. These officers work long hours? So do I. These officers have a strict sense of right and wrong and want to make a difference? I run a fire protection business, and I want the same things too. These officers are only human, and not robots?  Well, guess what. So am I.

I made conscious decisions in my area of work, and so did they. They chose the job, not the other way around. They have training in dealing with aggression, violence, verbal abuse and many other situations. The rest of us do not.

Yes, they have a job to uphold the law, but they often have discretion to handle things in a way that maintains the respect of the general public, but they choose not to. It’s a power trip. All of this at the expense and/or humiliation of another human being, typically a person having committed a minor offense, or even at times no offense at all.

You can’t earn respect when you don’t give it. Just because people fear you, doesn’t mean they respect you.

Costa V.

Burnaby

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