Resist the urge

According to Caledon OPP it wasn’t that late at night when a motorist pulled up in an Audi sedan to offer assistance to a driver who appeared to be having car troubles.

Once slowed to check up on the hapless motorist, two other men emerged from the shadows and at knife-point stole the man’s car. 

Described as a good Samaritan by OPP, the owner of the vehicle was unharmed. It gave an opportunity for police to remind motorists they should be extremely vigilant when trying to assist others. Things aren’t always as they seem.

That event followed on the heels of a tragedy days earlier when a young OPP officer was ambushed and killed near Hagersville. Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was answering a call to check on a vehicle that had left the roadway. 

News followed that the suspect was out on bail and his violent history compounds the grief for not only the family and fellow officers, but for the province at large. A good man, by all accounts, was lost for simply doing his job and trying to aid a motorist. It was a tragedy in every sense.

Within hours of that officer’s memorial service, a hundred plus kilometers away in the Big Smoke, a battle-cry let out. Responding to accounts that the Toronto Police Services Board was looking for a significant budget increase, “defund the police” advocates went wild. While we understand the context of their concerns, chiefly investing in communities rather than cops, no one can deny violent crime needs to be answered. Drive-by shootings, illegal guns, drug trade wars, fraudulent scams and activities that endanger citizens going about their daily lives need to be answered with authority. It is folly to believe otherwise and imprudent to handcuff police by limiting resources and expecting peace to reign.

We find it astounding when professors at universities and paid staff at non-profit organizations being interviewed by the media suggest reallocation of resources from police services to community organizations. A big-picture conversation would include discussing their take on the public dime to spew the theoretical, with little regard for the practical. What would it look like if this portion of the civil service and the publicly-funded hangers-on were reviewed, resulting in any excess spending of dubious benefit going back into the community? That would be fair, right? 

We need to escape the extreme dogma of both sides and look at this issue of policing and community betterment through a lens of what makes sense for the public. What will truly serve the public? On one thing all can agree: there is a problem.

In the meantime, as budgets come forward and discussions get underway, let’s all encourage the participants to resist the urge to pick a corner in these debates, before all facts are known. 

These community issues are far larger than catchy slogans.