What Do You Think Of Local Police Services?Sunday, November 03, 2013 by: Mac Headrick
Whenever I feel a little down I invariably go to the computer and read the comments on Soo Today in reference to local news items. Now if I am really fortunate the news in question will be about some criminal activity. Most often I will end this activity with two distinct emotions. First off, I will be in better humour. Often it is not the intention (I think) of the poster but I find many of the comments funny. Also when reading the remarks directed to the effectiveness of our local police force I am grateful I never perused a career in law enforcement.
During my employment with the Algoma District School Board, I interacted with the local police on many occasions. Most often these events occurred in the middle of the night at some local school after a break-in. My late mother used to enjoy listening to the police scanner in the evenings. Nothing pleased her more than to hear a police officer reporting they were attending a situation at the school and “Mac Headrick” would be attending representing the A.D.S.B.
I personally think the local police department has a very difficult job to do. When they do not capture the criminals in the act, they are accused of being ineffective. When they do apprehend the culprits the public seems to feel it is about time. The following remark isn’t based on anything more than a gut feeling. I believe often the local police force will have an idea of who committed the crime. What they don’t have is the proof necessary to get a conviction.
On a regular basis I read on this site about the same individuals committing the same crimes. Of course, often the report of the arrest includes the statement “breach of probation”. Now, in the past I have ranted and raged about probation offenses. This is not my intention today. I would really like to know how the probation system works. Can a repeat offender violate probation conditions numerous times and still be eligible for probation? Is it a right or a privilege to be granted probation? I suppose the bigger question is what we do as a society with citizens that have no intention of obeying the laws of the land. I am as guilty as anyone who always criticizes the “lenient” sentences given repeat offenders. Are our local judges too reluctant in implementing stern penalties? I really do not know. It is easy to administer the justice system when you do it in theory from a computer.
I believe the majority of small business owners in our city use common sense methods to prevent theft. For example, removing money from the site on a daily basis; leaving the till door open and empty etc. It surprises me how often people leave their vehicle doors unlocked. Many drivers appear to leave change in the middle of their consoles. A drug addict will break your car windows for a toonie to get their next fix. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the potential danger of discarding empty prescription bottles where someone else can observe this act. On this subject I wonder how the criminals seem to know what houses to target for specific drugs?
In the near future City Council will seek input on next year’s budget. Now, if reducing criminal activity is a priority then perhaps this is one place to start. Should police officers be used on night shift in undercover roles at high risk locations? In the past I suggested this idea. Of course I would also give them the authority to execute the robber on the spot. Apparently this concept is too radical. Now we all complain about crime but would the citizens of Sault Ste Marie be willing to pay more to fight crime?
I do not feel qualified to promote any cost saving ideas relative to the police budget. I assume the majority of the costs are attributed to wages and benefits. I wonder how much money is spent for police officers to attend court proceedings. In Toronto there is a move to reduce the number of police officers used on construction sites or other activities where a security guard could be used.
As l see it, I applaud our local police services when they succeed. I appreciate the job they do. I also wonder what the reaction of my fellow citizens would be to an increased police budget. Any ideas… please take a moment to share.
One last thing... at 4.30 a.m. this morning it was a little chilly outside. How do I know this? Apparently Pugs in general and Raji specifically don’t understand the concept of day-light saving time and sleeping in.