We need more ‘protect and serve’

On June 29, an intoxicated man appeared in the outside entrance way of a residential health care facility in Qualicum Beach.

On June 29, an intoxicated man appeared in the outside entranceway of a residential health care facility in Qualicum Beach.

He was pleasant and polite but said he had been drinking for four days and was not “doing well” and would someone call the police for him. He said he just wanted to go to the “drunk tank” and sleep it off.  A staff member at Eagle Park gave him some water and the police were called.

When they arrived they spoke to him for awhile and sent him on his way. The RCMP officer said the man “only wanted a ride home” and they had told him they were “not a taxi service.”

What exactly does “To Protect and Serve” mean? What would it have taken to have driven this man home? Qualicum Beach is a small town — how long would it have taken? Fifteen minutes?

In that short period of time, perhaps they could have talked to him, maybe found out whether he even had a home. Perhaps find out if they could direct him to some available social services. Maybe just in speaking to him, on the ride home, find out that he actually was in need of some medical treatment.

What ever happened to small-town policing and just general compassion and concern for your fellow man? I realize his condition was self-induced and we, as a society, do not have much tolerance for that, but he requested help, help arrived and help was denied. That is not good enough.

As taxpayers we contribute a considerable amount every year for our RCMP and we deserve to get more from them than speeding tickets and seat belt checks.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have our police members walking or biking the streets of Parksville and Qualicum Beach (and other small towns), talking to people, directing tourists, assisting our elderly, instead of driving around in the many police vehicles parked at the RCMP station on Pym Street? Wouldn’t it be nice if they actually interacted with the public in a positive way?

How many examples of our police force dealing poorly with mental illness and substance abuse issues will it take for them to start changing their attitudes and acquire better people skills?

I realize they probably get a little tired, if not totally fed up, with drunks and addicts, but why go into the police force in the first place if not to “protect and serve”? That includes everyone.

Val RantisErrington

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