Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Nov.  20, 2008)

The Pot calling the Kettle

By Bob Cooper



According to Province columnist Jon Ferry, police officers convicted of impaired driving should be fired like they do back in the old sod.  What Mr. Ferry fails to mention is that the Brits pay their cops so poorly most of them can barely afford a drink much less a car which is why all the ones with common sense come over here.

I wonder if Mr. Ferry would apply those same standards to his own profession?  I daresay thereíd be a lot of empty desks in newsrooms all over Vancouver.  I wish I had a nickel for every drunken reporter I gave a break to over the years, not to mention a few defense lawyers and the odd judge.  Iíve also been to my share of media social functions and believe me, thatís World-Class drinking.   Not that I didnít thoroughly enjoy them mind you, but suffice to say that the press in this city have absolutely no business lecturing anyone on the evils of drinking and driving.

(The other thing I liked about the media functions is that they are totally unencumbered by the political correctness they impose upon the rest of us that has most police bosses scared to death and makes our functions desperately sterile by comparison.)

Mr. Ferry suggests these incidents Ďtaint the public trustí and rhetorically asks if this is a case of Ďcops gone wildí.  Subliminal Jerry Springer image intended Iím sure.  On the subject of public trust, despite the best efforts of Ferry and his ilk, every poll Iíve ever seen consistently puts police officers very near the top with journalists tending to occupy a rather different position.  A case of Ďcops gone wildí?  No, itís simply that when hiring police officers you have to recruit from the human race and even the best people occasionally make mistakes.

Iím not attempting to minimize or justify these incidents in any way.  Iím simply saying that the job is an emotional meat grinder and cops deal with the horror of it in different ways.  Most have healthy outlets and good family relationships that carry them through their 30 years but a few others donít and wind up in situations like this. 

As an employer, the Vancouver Police Department is one of the most progressive and proactive anywhere when it comes to getting help for any members who develop a drinking problem.  Quite often itís the some of the best officers that this happens to.  The guys that always seem to go above and beyond.  Iíve seen many cases where the Departmentís timely intervention has resulted in these people getting the help theyíve needed and becoming good cops again.  As a Deputy Chief once said to a gathering of Officers that I was attending, ďThis job sometimes breaks our people and when that happens we donít throw them away, we fix themĒ.  And he was a teetotaler, as well as a kind and decent man.


Anyway, enough on that.  Think Iíll leave Mr. Ferry to wallow in his own hypocrisy and go have a snort.

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