Opinion: What is it like to be a NAN Police Officer
THUNDER BAY, ON ----- July 14, 2016 (LSN) My name is Evan Polini. I have been a constable with the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service since August 2012. As you probably know we recently voted in favor of a mandate to strike to help receive more funding so are police service can be run comparable to other services in the province. The following is a story from my experience as a police constable with NAPS. Hopefully it will help get across to everyone why we are threatening job action. Due to confidentiality reasons the name of the reserve cannot be included and names and certain details have been removed.
Imagine for a second that you are a police officer, but not just any police officer, you work for Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service. You’re policing a community of 500 people by yourself with no backup. It’s 0400, you've finished your shift and are just getting ready to go to bed when you get a call for an assault in progress. You don't get this call from a trained dispatcher who outlines all of details.
You get this call from a woman who is screaming for help, you recognize the voice and know who it is, but all that you can make out is that there is a fight. You get your uniform on, do a quick check to make sure you have all of your equipment and rush to your police cruiser. You’re driving to the call by yourself and think, I wish I had a partner. You get to the callers house and see a young man lying outside near the road covered in blood. You reach for your radio to call EMS, but then you realize, there is no EMS, there’s no one else coming, and that radio you were reaching for, it goes to no one. You try to assess the victims’ injuries and they look bad, but frankly, you aren’t a paramedic and only have basic first responder training.
You take the victim, put him in that back of your cruiser and rush him to emerg. Wait, there is no emerg, there’s a nursing station, but at least there’s a doctor that can help him. Sorry that’s a no again. Two nurses are called in from out of bed to come help the victim. While you are waiting for the nurses you try to get a sense of what happened from the victim, but he just blurts out a name. You know the name. You have dealt with this person before and you know that he is violent. You want to go back out and investigate what happened, but you need to stay and make sure the victim is safe. You wish you had a partner. You sit there waiting, the nurses come out to tell you that the victims’ injuries are too severe for them to treat and he has to be sent out on a plane immediately. At this point you know what has happened is very serious. You pause and think, I need to tell my superiors about this, but its 0500 and no one is working. You have a phone number for the sergeant on call, but you don’t want to wake him. So you decide that you’ll wait to call him until your done investigating. The victim is sent out and now you can continue. You go back to the caller’s house and speak to her. She outlines to you a brutal assault involving the victim and her nephew where her nephew took a baseball bat to the victim repeatedly bashing him in the head and body until you showed up. She says to you “ If you hadn’t shown up I don’t think he would have stopped. He would have killed him”.
You know who the nephew is, it’s the same person that the victim said. You know that he has probably been drinking and may have a baseball bat. You are wishing that you had someone to back you up, but you don’t and you cant ignore what happened. You find the nephew walking down the street, he doesn’t have the bat, and you are relieved. You get out of your vehicle and tell him to stop, he turns around and walks toward you. As you stand there facing the 6’3” 280lbs giant you are really hoping that he has calmed down.
You tell him he is under arrest and hope that he’s not going to resist because you know that there isn’t any back up coming and no one even knows where you are.Thoughts rush through you head...this man could kill me and no one will know, how long will it be before my family finds out, how long will it be before another officer shows up, how long will it be before they find this person, what if he knocks me out and takes my gun, Who will stop him after that? These thoughts go through you’re head and your heart is racing a mile a minute, but on the outside you are calm, you cant show weakness, you cant show any signs of fear. The man turns around and put his hands behind his back, you cuff him, search him, put him in the back of the cruiser then……you breathe.
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