The other side

The other side Open letter re RCMP publicity: In the last year (or two) I have been following a regular flow of negative publicity towards the RCMP. I need to state I am glad that we have a police force to protect my community and keep people safe. Some

Open letter re RCMP publicity:

In the last year (or two) I have been following a regular flow of negative publicity towards the RCMP.

I need to state I am glad that we have a police force to protect my community and keep people safe.

Some people may be reading this saying people have died in interactions with the RCMP.

How about how many people have been saved because the police have picked them up when they are passed out, close to frozen, or assaulted?

How about the police who have taken a drunk driver off the road, or helped a person about to enter a risky a situation before they are sexually assaulted? The list could go on.

I can say, wholeheartedly, I believe they save lives and protect.

I also think, instead of criminalizing the polices’ behaviour, we should look at it from a different angle.

What brings people to making comments that are inappropriate?

Is it a defensive mechanism, a coping skill, a way to go to work every day or a way to explain the unexplainable?

I have no idea what it would feel like to be sworn at, spat on and assaulted by people on a daily basis. I also don’t know what it is like to interact with people who are so intoxicated or stoned that they defecate and urinate themselves, vomit on themselves or be so unhygienic that their clothes may be growing into their own skin.

I cannot venture to guess what my world perspective would be after everyday exposure to these conditions.

Perhaps our focus should be on, how do people who work with trauma take care of themselves, process their experiences and make sense of the world that seems so confusing?

Yes, a large organization like the RCMP needs to be accountable, but before we cast stones we need to consider the scope of their job, the issues and population that they have regular contact with and the types of trauma they are exposed to on a daily basis.

I hope and wish that when people read the newspaper, watch the news, and listen to people’s complaints that they are also open to the fact that there is always more than one side to a story and that things are not always what they seem.

Meg Smith

Whitehorse