I am pretty hard on bad cops. Bad cops deserve to have a lot of wrath thrown their way. In my own 20 year experience of “social policing” in Toronto’s housing projects, I’ve seen a lot of bad cops and a good number of really good cops. I also directly worked with some great people devoted to the ideas and concepts of “social policing,” but can also say there were more than a few occasions I nearly arrested my own backup. In looking back, I probably should have arrested them.
There are far too many police officers today that seem to have no clue about Peel’s Principles, or ideas of bravery, which really means… self control, taking in situations as much as possible, and trying to find the least forceful solution to a situation.
That cop that single-handedly arrested the van driver alleged to have killed ten people is a model police officer. He deserves a medal. He deserves more than a medal; he deserves a national holiday. I am personally familiar with some of the Toronto Police Services training, having taken some of it – and I hated the philosophy that the training was espousing back then, in the 1990’s. I’m not sure who trained this police officer, or whether he had his own ideas and is just a very wise police officer, but he really does deserve more than some accolades for his actions.
People are calling him brave. I don’t know. I have seen the video, and the police officer in question was in a far better situation to see whether it was a gun that the suspect had in his hand. Even watching the video, I can tell it was not a gun, but many other people were fooled by that. At the same time, we can say that the police officer exhibited self-control and professionalism, and it was a job well done. But even if the police officer could tell that it was not a gun, he did not know if there was indeed a gun on the person of the suspect, or any other weapons.
He probably could have shot the suspect. It is likely that most American cops would have. It is likely that some other Canadian cops would have as well. This one did not.
Look, let’s get something straight: Cops ARE paid to be brave. Well, at the very least, they are paid to have some self-control. Some wonder why he did not shoot the suspect – who has been alleged to have killed 10 people. Animals think like that. People that have no understanding of our liberal justice system think like that. It is better that the suspect be brought to justice, than to have been killed.
If there was a time to kill the suspect, it was earlier on his rampage, to prevent more killing. At the point the police officer had him in his sights, there was no immediate need to stop a further killing (unless it was to shoot the police officer).
I personally know what it is like to face someone with a gun. Or a gang with knives, and having them lunge towards my belly. I know the adrenaline, combined with fear, combined with trying to get back “self-control” that the police officer probably went through, today. He did his job, and he did it very well. And we should be absolutely appreciative of police officers like that. I would like to know that police officer’s name myself and send him a personal letter of thanks. But I would bet that he is the type of police officer that does not want attention; he just wants to do a good job. But nevertheless, he ought to be recognized for his common-sense, his wisdom, his self-control, and he should be held up as a model for what policing really is about.
His job was not to avenge for the killings. His job was to do his best to bring a suspect to justice. Despite his fears, his probable questions in his own mind that flashed through, “Do I have to shoot this guy?” And he did his job, spectacularly. He arrested the suspect, alive. On his own.
He is probably having his own PTSD issues right now. I know what those are like, and I wish we had the resources “back in the day” to deal with that, but we did not. I hope he gets all the help to deal with that, and hope he is back on the job that he probably loves, as a professional, as soon as possible.
Is the man a hero? That’s a tough question because he acted in the way we would want paid professionals to act. He’s a hero for being able to use self-control, wisdom, and then turned that into bravery, when many others would not. I’m hesitant to call him a “hero” in that regard, but I have no hesitation in saying that he is a model police officer.
It is rare today, with the inundation of news we hear about other police officers NOT acting with self-discipline and wisdom, to see this kind of police response.
What we saw today, by a police officer, was actually…. beautiful. It is horrible and ugly that he had to do what he did, but he responded beautifully.
I don’t know his name. I wish I did, and I’d send him my own personal congratulations on a fantastic work of policing.