Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is "better than Mexico" good enough?

If you're looking for a place to throw out your love/hate police comments why not check out Matt Klein's post over at SomethingTV.

He has a personal connection to one of Alberta's darkest days, of which today is the anniversary.

He also brings up some interesting points about police in Canada that could easily get lost right now with daily reports coming out of the Vancouver Airport Taser inquiry.

If you don't feel like going there just yet, you can read what I had to say below. It might not make a whole lot of sense out of context though.

While it’s too simple to slam the RCMP or any police service for their mistakes, or the mistakes of one or more of their officers, and say that they are all corrupt and everything needs an overhaul I think it’s also too easy to fire back that we are just lucky to be here in Canada.

Canada certainly has a higher standard of living than all or most of the places referenced above but much as John has alluded to we can’t simply be happy to be “better than Mexico.” As a First World nation we have to strive to set the standard and accept nothing less. There will always be human error but if people can learn from those errors and improve training or systems we will be in a better place. If we can strive for that we will set the example for other countries and be in a better place to go there and teach them how it’s done.

Learning and adapting is the biggest step but there also has to be open dialogue between those that serve the public and the people. An example of this comes from the Vancouver Airport Tasering.

People were told by the RCMP to wait for everything to come out through the usual investigations. After the airport video was released and after recent testimony from the inquiry it’s beginning to feel like there were things that might have been kept from the light of day. I’m not saying that’s the case or would definitely have been the case but there’s a feeling of that coming out of testimony that includes references to Robert Dziekanski wildly swinging and coming at police when the video shows nothing of that kind.

People who clamour for constant overhaul when something goes wrong might be a little more on board to wait for change if the other side (in this case, the police) were a little more willing to be open from the get-go that a mistake might have occurred and they seemed willing to accept change. It can’t be all or nothing on either side.

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