Seeing so many deaths and injuries stemming from ticketable offenses has me wondering why a person who spends a large portion of their day writing tickets should carry a gun?
Montreal parking enforcement officers hand out countless tickets every day. I have never seen one armed or militarized.
Why does any person have to deal with an armed officer for a missed turn signal?
Why does any person need to be confronted with death just because they went 11kmh over the speed limit?
Why does any person, who let their dog off its leash, need to be checked for warrants?
Why are police, who are dressed like Judge Dredd, approaching, encroaching, and intimidating citizens who did not cross the street in the crosswalk, or that urinated in an alleyway?
A high percentage of arrests start with a minor infraction. The police use these opportunities to intimidate and investigate, often violating the rights of innocent people, in an attempt to discover, or more often to instigate an arrestable offence. Officers are trained to control interactions with "suspects" in every way and any resistance to this control is perceived as obstructing justice. "Disobeying an officer's lawful order" in itself is an arrestable offence. Officers are specifically trained to ask trap questions in order to create probable cause, even though "suspects" are not obligated to answer any questions beyond identification for the purpose of receiving the ticket. Officers routinely perform searches without consent even when said searches are illegal. Officers often offend, intimidate, and violate citizens' rights to the point that the citizen may react emotionally, becoming frustrated, defensive, or nervous; and consequently deemed "uncooperative" by the officer, simply for defending their basic legal rights.
For most of us, this is frightening. For others, it can be deadly.
A disproportionately high percentage of the citizens police choose to interact with are Black, Indigenous or POC. The police consistantly arrest at a higher rate the homeless, the destitute, and the addicted; the marginalized, the vulnerable and the at-risk. These are the communities in which the police pan for gold, washing away dignity, privacy, and basic human rights in the process. Offending many to catch a few; this is what they consider to be the standard of good police work.
Why has the task of writing tickets for minor violations been assigned to officers with soldier like training and a shoot to kill mentality? We have seen their inability to discern peaceful protesters from vandals. We have seen their disregard for the personal safety of both, and for Black lives all together. Why can't the task of ticketing minor offenses be given to the "fresh from the academy" cadets, no guns allowed. Why can't they be called "concierge" or "city ambassador" and offer general assistance to citizens? Why can't they help shovel out snowed in cars? Why can't they assist the elderly on icy sidewalks? Why can't they carry groceries up the precarious staircases of montreal, so parents can carry their children? Why can't they visit retirement homes? Why can't they monitor playgrounds and help find lost pets or stolen bicycles? Why can't they give directions to newly arrived Canadians and non-Canadians? Why can't they act as an intermediary to armed officers, preventing unwarranted calls by racists or vindictive neighbors? Why can't they respond to loud music complaints? Why can't they help the intoxicated hail a cab and make sure they get home safe? Why can't they be first responders? Why can't they referee street hockey games? Why can't they engage and participate in the community that they will one day be protecting - before we arm them, before we empower them to end lives.
Why can't the community they will be policing decide when they are ready for that responsibility. We are after all, the most qualified to judge, as we are both their employer and the primary asset, that is to say, we are whom they are tasked with protecting.
Why do we expect the police, trained and equipped to handle violent individuals, to interact with jay walkers and park drinkers? Why do we send heavily armed and overly aggressive thugs to interact with the mentally unstable and people in psychological distress? Why can't they accompany and protect someone who is actually trained to interact with someone with psychological issues?
Why are we sending militarized officers to suicidal people, to addicts, to the homeless. What could they possibly contribute?
Why is there no one between them and the gun?
We want to change the mentality of the people trained to protect us from the worse case scenario.
Why can't we just eliminate the need for unarmed innocent people to interact with them at all?
Give us someone to keep the peace before you give us someone prepared for war.