Unlike the fictional television drama Blue Bloods, in which an NYPD rookie takes a regular ribbing from his fellow officers for having matriculated at Harvard Law School, it’s no secret that some cops roaming the streets possess little in the way of a post-secondary education.
While most police services will tell you that obtaining a post-secondary diploma will improve your chances of employment, on paper, all most police forces require is a high school diploma or its
The reason why this is startling — particularly in light of the recent Sammy Yatim streetcar shooting in Toronto and other high profile cases of police misconduct such as the G20 protests in 2010 — is because while we may have officers that can physically handle the challenges of 21st century policing, we seem to be lacking a police force that can mentally and emotionally handle the challenges of policing Canada in 2013.
Last month in Montréal, a SWAT team was able to disarm and arrest a 73-year old armed man after a 20 hour standoff, despite him having shot one of the officers. This is juxtaposed by the relatively quick reaction by their Toronto counterparts in the July shooting of 18-year old armed teenager Yatim, when lethal action was taken only two minutes after police had arrived on the scene to find the young man alone in an empty streetcar.
While most police recruits undergo rigorous physical training when they sign up to join one of the many law enforcement agencies across this country, few rarely take part in an equivalent rigor of training for their minds. And while some may argue that what’s needed in a dark alley is a brute force capable of overpowering or matching the strength of a convict as opposed to a timid, scholarly philosopher, the reality of the situation is that crimes are not only committed by criminals. And with the us vs them, good guys vs. bad guys mentality that seems to be overwhelmingly prevalent within police forces today — which often culminates in the infamous thin blue line — it’s obvious to any observer that having brute forces of nature and possessing a scholarly background can only help the situation and status quo moving forward.
A perfect example of this is in the Canadian produced CTV series Flashpoint. What makes it vastly different from its American counterparts is the fact that most cases focus on the humanity and individuality of the criminal instead of painting them with broad brushstrokes as morally evil perpetrators who deserve to be put down. In fact, most of the crises, which were handled by a paramilitary police unit modeled after the Toronto Police Services’ Emergency Task Force, are resolved with the subject not having to be neutralized or shot by the police.
This is because SWAT police officers, like the ETF or EPS Tactical Unit here in Edmonton, are unlike their regular, uniformed beat cop counterparts. They’re specifically trained to deal with high-risk scenarios and have an ultimate duty to “serve and protect” the lives of all those involved, including the perpetrator.
This may involve trying to defuse the situation by establishing a rapport through negotiation or doing background research into the subject to find out more about their current mental and
emotional state. This is why applicants into special tactics units must pass rigorous physical and mental examinations to gain acceptance and have usually obtained some sort of high level or expert education into the human mind and psyche — way beyond that which is required for a simple constable walking the street.
So if there is at least a recognition by police forces that tactical police officers must possess both a high physical and mental acumen to do their jobs, it should be a requirement extended and demanded of, albeit to a lesser extent, regular beat cops.
If society demands that those who write and make judgments upon the law receive high levels of education — be they politicians, lawyers or judges — why do we expect and accept less from those whose job it is to carry out and enforce the law?
By no means should perspective cops have to face the daunting task of several years of higher education before they obtain employment. But implementing more rigorous academic requirements, especially in areas relating to psychology and sociology beyond that of a simple high school degree or community college diploma, may benefit everybody in the long run.
On this special short edition of The Gateway Presents, we celebrate the Gateway’s 103rd birthday by telling some birthday stories and talking about The Gateway’s history.
Since this is a music blog and not an exhausted-consideration-on-moments-in-my-life Tumblr blog, what better way to gain some clarity to what I’ve listened to in the past 11 months than order and number songs (one for each month) that I’ve found to be the best and most worthwhile from the past eleven months?
Pandas basketball player and starting point guard Jessilyn Fairbanks didn’t always envision herself leading one of the hottest teams in CIS. In fact, Fairbanks’ path — from Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) standout to leading the charge for the Pandas on both ends of the court — has become one of the more intriguing storylines in varsity sports this year.
The statistics are staggering. In the last 10 years, the University of Alberta Students’ Union has had only two female presidents, and out of 50 executives only 11 were women.
What renowned paleontologist Phillip Currie initially thought was a turtle shell poking out of the ground turned out to be an almost fully intact baby dinosaur — and one of the most significant finds of his career.