Police officers need to start remembering that they are constantly in the public eye. Recently, RCMP officers in Nova Scotia found themselves in hot water after joking to each other about a woman who is the alleged victim in a domestic assault case.
While having injuries related to the incident photographed by police, one member of the RCMP called her home phone number and accidently left a three-minute voice message, the woman said. In it, RCMP can be heard discussing the case and eventually, one member asks the other, albeit jokingly, if the alleged victim perhaps got what was coming to her.
“So did she deserve to get hit?” he says in the recording.
No, of course she didn’t deserve to get hit. What a stupid thing to say. No one who is assaulted ever deserves to get hit.
Comments like these are not only inappropriate for members of the RCMP, they are statements that no one should be making. Even in jest.
We have all done it. We have all made an off-colour joke surrounded by close friends at home or even with colleagues in the workplace.
Sometimes we end up regretting it. Other times we dismiss it as banal banter that lacks any real meaning or substance behind it.
But that doesn’t mean it’s ok. Certainly, it is not ok for police officers to be making such comments.
Yes, it is true these members of the RCMP are not the first to make such crass wisecracks.
But in our society, we tend to hold individuals who enforce the law up to a higher standard, and we certainly regard them with higher scrutiny.
This is what police officers need to remember. Already, police are portrayed by the media in a negative light far too often. These officers are certainly not doing themselves any favours with remarks like these.
If anything, they add to the stigma that cops are, to use the vernacular, ‘pigs.’ In doing so, they tarnish the name of officers everywhere. Not just in Nova Scotia, but in detachments and police services across the country, including the names of the fine men and women who serve on the Lacombe Police Service and Blackfalds RCMP.
Police everywhere need to start remembering that their words and actions reflect on the character of officers everywhere else.
Everyone everywhere is watching them and in today’s society, where everyone is connected to the world at the touch of a button, it doesn’t take long for the impact of one officer’s slip-up to spread.