Letter - Police do a great job

The Regional

May 27, 2009

I would like to respond to an article in the May 20 issue of This Week entitled "OPP: Your actions speak louder than words."

There are numerous times each week that I stop and chat with one or more of the officers of our police force. I now know some of them personally. I'm just an ordinary citizen doing my job, and I need them around. I am grateful for their presence and the work they do for me, sometimes going out of their way to do a little extra.

They may not speak out concerning the articles and letters that are written about them, because they are professional in their work. I can see, though, that it hurts them to read some of the things that are said about them. Their position does not allow them to defend themselves, so they have to be content to let their actions speak for them.

It is far too often that I hear people deriding the cops on the street and in their cruisers just for being there. I hear people curse them for catching them at speeding. I hear people jeering at them, when the thing that is wrong is that these people are drunk, not that the police have done anything to deserve it. It's almost as if the cops are against us instead of for us.

The problem is that they have to be there because of those of us who cannot live within the law. The fact that they have to be there speaks more against us than against them.

What I mean to suggest is that we have a double standard as to who the police are.

They do a hard job: they are out there trying to keep the roads safe for us; one of the hardest jobs they are called on to do is to step into domestic disputes that have gone too far; they are the ones that have to deal with things, most often after they happen. There are so many jobs ever day which they do with care and integrity, and cannot speak more eloquently in their defence.

Why do we take all these for granted?

I've had occasion to call for their help several times over the past few years. I've had to call them on behalf of people who were in distress. Their response times to my calls were exceptional. Each time that someone needed their help they were there right away. And each time they were well prepared to handle the situation.

Sure, there are laws that I don't think are right, and there are social policies that I do not agree with. But the police don't have the right to disagree or agree with these; they have to work within those laws and policies without prejudice to any, and that's not easy to do. It is not they who have a double standard; it is we, the people, who have a double standard. And they have to work within that standard, often taking the blame for what we impose upon ourselves.

I would like to say 'thank you' to all the officers serving in the Dunnville, Cayuga, and Caledonia area (the area for my job and my family) for the work you do for me. I appreciate it when you stop to see what we're doing. And I thank you because I see you on the roads that I drive. You have a tough job to do, but one that requires qualities that I greatly respect and admire, not the least of which are fairness and courage. Your presence is an assurance and a comfort to me and my family

John Vandervliet


Ed note: No doubt they do a good job everywhere... except when dealing with native issues in Caledonia. Standing by while watching natives swarm and assault elderly people and others for the 'crime' of taking a photograph should not be part of their mandate. As you say, the law should be applied without prejudice to any, and that is not so in Caledonia. What you should be asking is, who is forcing police to step outside the boundaries of their own sworn oaths, taken when they become OPP officers.