Attitude, Attitude, Attitude 2/4

Written by Harold McNeill on January 22nd, 2012. Posted in Police Notebook


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Domestic Disputes: These disputes can be among the most difficult and dangerous calls to attend.

Note: This is Part 2 of the series.  Go to Different Strokes for Part 1

Introduction

The Saanich PD Constable stood in the living room of a Cadboro Bay residence facing down two angry people. It was evident by his words and actions that this meeting was not likely to have a happy ending. Meanwhile, his Sergeant was sitting, watching and waiting as chaos slowly enveloped the scene.

There was obviously more to the Sergeant’s inaction than I could at first discern. As I had just arrived on the scene as a back-up, it would take a few minutes to understand why the Sergeant was waiting and watching. We struck up a conversation and both watched through the picture window facing the street.

The reason I was here, is that with three borders (Oak Bay, Saanich, and Victoria) we always covered for each other on such calls as we all knew officers could end up at the scene alone. As our radio systems were on the same channel, we always knew what was going on in each others territory.

The Call

When I arrived, two Saanich police cars were parked on the street with the Saanich Sergeant quietly sitting in his unit. The engine was off and he was having a cigarette as I walked to the driver’s door. I didn’t even have to ask if they needed help as that was obvious. Through the picture window of a house across the street, we could see the another Saanich officer, (he had arrived before the Sergeant) who was standing in the living room facing down a man and woman who were in the midst of a heated argument.

The Sergeant told me: “Just watch this. I have worked with this man for several months and he simply doesn’t understand that the reason he becomes involved in so many confrontations, is related to his attitude.” As we continued to watch the man and woman continued to argue as if the Constable was not even in the room.  As soon as the officer started to speak, his hand gestures and pointing fingers suggested he was angry and was lecturing the couple.

Slowly the man, then the woman, turned their attention toward the officer and as the officer continued, their anger slowly shifted from each other to the officer. He, in turn, responded in kind.  As the woman became more animated, she lightly pushed the officer on the chest with her finger. That was clearly the wrong move lady.

At first the man tried to pull his wife back, but clearly, the officer was not going to stop short of dragging the woman out of the house under arrest for assault. The husband now turned his full attention to the officer and all three began to wrestle. As they fell to the floor, they disappeared from view.

The Sergeant climbed out of his car and as he walked to the front door stated: “Just give me a minute I better go sort this out before someone gets hurt.”  He was not in the house more than a minute or two and everyone was again standing. The scene calmed as the Sergeant remained between the Constable and the two residents. As the Sergeant continued to speak, the couple continued to nod. The Sergeant then turned to the Constable, said something, and the Constable left the house.

When the Constable came down beside me, he was obviously still very angry and still wanted to arrest one or both of the residents and that surely would have followed had he been left in charge. A few minutes later we could see the Sergeant shaking hands with the couple. He then departed the house.  The couple watched through the window as the Sergeant walked back to his police car.

Nothing further was mentioned, but it was clear the Sergeant was going to take the Constable aside and try to explain to him how he might want to change his attitude. While not every family dispute ends in this manner, it was clear the Sergeant had developed a good basic understanding of human behaviour and knew how to diffuse a potentially volatile situation. It was indeed a lucky group of Constables who had this man as their Patrol Sergeant.  The three of us chatted for a few minutes, the Constable slowly settled down and we departed on our routine patrols.

Link here to Part 3 Please Send a Police Car

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

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    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

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    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

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