First, a confession. I wanted a "Commissioner's Commendation" when I was in the RCMP. Recognition for some of the truly stupid ways I put myself in harm's way. I never got one, and I was probably envious of some of my close friends and partners who did earn them. The closest I came was a letter of appreciation from the Commanding Officer. It was for not shooting someone in La Ronge. That someone was armed with an axe and a knife, but things worked out well and no one got hurt. He ended up with some of the help he needed.
In some ways I hate what it says about me that I desired to be honoured that way, and what it says about my ego that I felt deserving of it. I suppose that in my defense I could point out that, although I was in a position to do so, I never ever recommended myself for them. Hoping that someone else would make that recommendation is just a little better.
Here are a few instances gleaned from roughly the last year of my service, that made me think I was deserving of the commendation. Part of my reasoning behind sharing them is to illustrate what police in isolated communities face on a regular basis. Part is pure ego.
Back in the dark ages, we were often left alone up here, back up was a plane ride and a few hundred kilometres away. It's just the way things were done. Thankfully those days are past. One Saturday I was enjoying my days off, sitting in the office doing paper work, when the phone rang. There was no point in ignoring it because back in those days when people couldn't reach us at the office they called us at home, not the comcentre in Iqaluit.
The call was about a young woman at the Northern Store, a young woman with a personality disorder who had been ramping up her behaviour partially to get attention from the police. She had been embroiled in a conflict with the Northern staff, and now sought to resolve that conflict by threatening them with a knife.
I had a problem. I was just at the office doing paper work, my duty belt, along with my sidearm, pepper spray, etc., were at home. Now my office was essentially next door to the Northern, only a warehouse seperates the two, and my home and duty belt were in the opposite direction. I had a choice, I could take time to go get my proper equipment, or I could go unarmed to a weapons call. Leah was one of those staff at the Northern, I went unarmed to the call.