The police are at the door. How would you react if your spouse said that to you?

Police at your door

Early one morning I was awakened by the voices of my mom and dad. Even a six-year old knew that was unusual. They were downstairs talking with someone. After crawling out of bed, I sat on the top step of our staircase and peered through the railing. In my half-wakened state, I could see my parents talking to a police officer. Dad had his arm around mom. Their conversation quickly ended; the door closed; my mom cried.

“Bobby, Potter died.”

Telling the kids

No one ever explained to me why I called my mom’s dad, “Potter” but that was how I referred to my grandfather. Later, I learned that he had died of a heart attack. But what impressed me as a six-year old was was that the police came to my house. My. House.

The police were at the door. I could hardly wait to tell the kids at school. It’s not every kid that has a police officer come to their house even when we weren’t in trouble.

Coffee With a Constable

When Jocelyn let me know that a peace officer was at our door this week I’m glad he was there on an unofficial visit. At one time I was his pastor.

Over coffee we talked about what those who wear a badge are up against today. He wasn’t complaining. I was the one who asked him about his experiences. How was morale? How was the rise of anti-police sentiment affecting him? His simple reply, “Who would want to become a police officer the way things are,” said it all.

This family man puts his life on the line every time he steps out his front door. He endures being called a racist by people who don’t know anything about him other than, he wears a uniform. Citizens he is called to protect, call him out. Phone cameras appear before conversations even start.

Where Would I Be?

Now, I certainly can’t speak about every officer. And I’m surely not going to use the term “a few bad apples” to explain away the hurtful experiences of some people. That would be dismissive. But I will say that I am proud of the women and men who serve and protect.

Where would I be without the police? I’ve been protected when I didn’t know I needed protecting.

Not too long ago, the city of Edmonton turned blue when officer Daniel Woodall was killed in the line of duty. The streets were decorated with blue ribbons and lined with mourners as the hearse carrying his body drove past. In 2018, RCMP officers mustered in our church facility to prepare for the funeral parade of Constable David Wynn, slain protecting the citizens of St Albert.

The same streets, once filled with defenders of the police, now fill with defunders.

Hi Poppa

One day, one of our granddaughters or our only grandson could consider joining the force. ”What do you think, Poppa? I’m wondering about becoming a police officer.”

My heart would be on my sleeve.

Maybe one day, a uniformed officer will show up at our door and Jocelyn will say, “The police are at the door.”

And I’ll hear, “Hi, Poppa Bob.”

Contact your MLA and city councillor and let your support for the police be known. Do you have a family member who serves and protects? Do you know a peace officer? Have you been helped by the police? Please share you story or a comment at the bottom of this post.

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Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 41 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring others through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, reading, and ball hockey. I'm a fan of the Esks, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

4 Comments

  • Shaan Hagglund says:

    Thanks for the post Pastor Bob. It was very timely as just this week my daughter ask me what I thought of her becoming an Rcmp officer. The first thing I thought was “Why would you want to do that?” She has a diplomas in Social work from MacEwan University. She has always wanted to help others; especially the marginalized. Maybe someday, I will have a police officer at my door too! Thanks Again Pastor Bob…..

  • Bob Jones says:

    What an awesome conversation with your daughter, Shaan. She sounds like a wonderful, young woman. We sure need the best to be serving our communities. Please remember when she goes to apply, to let me know.

  • CD says:

    Well written and so true. I had written a response to the “few bad apples” analogy a while back on my FB page. I appreciate you clarifying that this simply dismisses the weight of the issue with such brevity. I am often too wordy and the point gets lost. I’m sure today’s reply will demonstrate that.

    In the end, defunding the police would be counterintuitive and does not resolve the issue. In fact, there is a similar dilemma in most workplaces or establishments but the outcomes are far less visible.

    Perhaps transparency is the only way to be sure the public is aware there are consequences. We have all seen what happens when an organization is allowed to handle a situation “in house” and most often feel it was dealt with lightly. Transparency ensures the public that there are consequences to actions.

    In the end, I pray that those who are doing their job well and make decisions in the moment that are based on training rather than emotion are being rewarded for their diligence while those who are allowing their prejudices to become racism are being called out and retrained or let go as the situation dictates.

    For the future, I have one son who plans to join the military and one that plans to become a police officer. I pray their paths extend their discipline and morality rather than change it to cynicism and anger. I do know these roles will enlighten them to the reasons people make the choices they make in life or how the sins of others can create devastation in lives of children and families. Having said that, I pray they also stand firm in the fact that our Saviour is powerful and will redeem lives and situations to God’s plan, if only people will invite Him into their lives.

    Thank you to all who serve! You are truly amazing for upholding our safety despite the many obstacles you face every day! I once considered becoming an officer and determined I wasn’t up for the physical portion. I certainly see the value of policing but wonder if a portion of training should involve social work practicum? Perhaps it does and I’m unaware but I think the ability to see where someone comes from and demonstrate compassion is valuable. Having said that, as an officer, you also must uphold the law equitably and without prejudice so there is also value to standing firm in the fact that, regardless of circumstances, a price must be paid when a crime is committed.

    I witnessed that yesterday. The officer on scene handled things equitably after a woman was hit in the crosswalk right next to me as I waited at a red light. I stayed as a witness to write a statement. After I handed it to her, we discussed both the driver’s dilemma and the woman’s status. The poor woman saw the vehicle coming a little too late and held her hands out to try to stop the vehicle while backing away. As for the driver, I could see he did not intend to hit the woman. The sun was low on the horizon as he travelled west and was turning south. He did not see the woman until he was inches from her. It was too late to stop but he certainly tried.

    The officer explained she had to assess these situations with all the info on hand and determine the best course of action. Based on many factors she can take him into custody immediately and send him to court. She decided not to take him from his family because he was fully cooperating and admitted his fault in the situation while explaining the reason he did not see her. Having said that, he did hit an individual in a marked crosswalk so the officer used her judgment to write him a ticket.

    Thankfully, an EMS was less than two blocks away, saw the accident, and had the woman loaded and treated within five minutes. This likely reduced the severity of the woman’s injuries (shock etc). Thankfully she only had minor injuries but was taken to have X-rays done to be sure. I pray they all came back clear and she will heal quickly both physically and mentally. The trauma of the accident will likely stick with both parties.

    Now to list the points erroneously focused on in news stories: The woman in the crosswalk is a Muslim lady wearing a hijab, the driver is a black man with his very pregnant wife and family in the car and the officer is a young white woman with (beautiful) tattoos up her arm. Not once did race play a part in this exchange. I regret that, in my own shock, I forgot to thank this young lady for her service. She deserves to hear that she did a great job so I will use the case number to be sure she receives that feedback. The other responders were also amazing: doing exactly what needed to be done to serve those involved. The incident commander on scene was a firefighter and he handled the whole scene perfectly. He also deserves praise for taking command and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

    From my distant view, all involved behaved beautifully: with efficiency, understanding, concern and grace.

    It is frustrating when I hear people ask if officers should be praised simply for doing their job properly in a sarcastic tone. My response, YES they must be honoured for doing their jobs with respect and dignity for those involved in the situation!

    Officers are aware that a routine traffic stop could be deadly and so they follow procedure. Officers respond to hostile situations and must use their best judgment and training to respond effectively with the safety of all in mind. Any risk of harm for themselves, their partners or the public must be considered.

    Hear me. There are NO justified reasons for overreacting and using excessive force.

    The simple fact that personal safety concerns exist is exactly why the officers who respond reasonably need to be praised but it should also never be used an excuse to respond excessively. They did choose this position but that does not mean others should pass off their death or harm as simply “part of the job.” That also diminishes a very real fear for the officers and their families.

    The role of an officer is thankless unless we honour them. Let’s call out those who misuse their power, REGARDLESS OF THE REASON, and let’s praise those who continue to uphold our protection and security.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Thank you for sharing your story CD. Seeing a traumatic event has it’s own ramifications for witnesses. Good that you could be of help in the reporting process. Thank you for your being specific in your perspective on the police. Awesome that your boys are considering those careers.

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