My Saturday Night with the Hamilton Police ServicePublished on May 14, 2019
One of the things I’ve wanted to do since becoming the MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook is to spend a shift with a Hamilton police officer, observing the kinds of situations they face and from a government perspective, seeing what we can do to support them in their work. On Saturday night, May 10th, I got the opportunity to join an officer for a ride-a-long and to say the experience was a revelation is an understatement.
- 18:20 – Arrive at Mountain Station
- Checked in by Staff Sgt. John Pauls
- Attended the “parade” which is a daily briefing, outlining any possible issues that might come up during the shift. The briefing was conducted by Acting Sgt. Ryan Hashimoto
- 18:30 – Assigned to work with Constable Paul Kent. Const. Kent logged his data terminal in the car’s computer and we began patrol.
- 18:47 – Dispatched to Fire Call at a Hamilton Mountain business, so we attended there. Several trucks and emergency vehicles on scene. The fire call was next to my mother’s house, so I stopped by to see her and at age 88, she was shocked to see me exiting a police cruiser.
- 20:03 – Dispatched to a domestic disturbance call, person threatening suicide. This is my first opportunity to see the range of skills police officers require when attempting de-escalating potentially dangerous situations.
- 21:44 - Attended a disturbance at a local fast food outlet, witnesses reported youths disrupting clients. We would be dispatched to this location several times during the shift.
- 22:20 – Drive downtown to meet Inspector David Hennick who was attending a community function on behalf of the police department.
- 22:40 - Headed over to Central Custody for a tour of the holding cells. All of the women’s cells were occupied by females facing drug related and assault offences.
- 23:35 – Dispatched to a 24 hour pharmacy to deal with a trespasser.
- 00:00 - Family called police to de-escalate a quarrel amongst family members involving 92 year old woman.
- 00:24 – Report of a man ingesting drugs, concern of possible overdose, but he’d been transported to hospital by the time we arrived.
- 02:14 – Issued a traffic ticket for speeding – 70 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, Const. Kent was very patient with the young man.
- 02:41 – Reports of an attempted break and enter with prowler in area. Suspect believed to have fled in car. Arrived to find it was an ongoing domestic dispute with prior history of violence. Other officers arrived to question witness and to discuss ongoing safety of the victim. Police immediately recognized the suspect had a history of violence against the victim and they took immediate measures to protect her and her children.
- 04:30 – Returned to Mountain Station and as Const. Kent walked me to my car, I could not believe ten hours had passed so quickly. A cab pulled up and the driver asked for assistance with his passenger, who had passed out and was nearly comatose in the front seat. I leave Const. Kent dealing with this situation.
Thinking about the evening after I returned home, I was struck by several thoughts. Although I had eaten before I left for the ride-a-long, Constable Kent, at 6 foot 3 and very fit had not, and didn’t have anything to eat through the entire shift except a power bar. In fact, he didn’t take one break. I also realized when I see an officer pulled over at the side of the road, they’re probably writing up their notes. Constable Kent took meticulous notes, documenting all the events that had transpired during the shift. Finally, I was struck by the sensitivity, calm and professionalism shown by all of the officers I had encountered throughout the evening, traits they used that no doubt contributed to the de-escalation of situations that could easily have gone the other way.
I have always had great respect for the women and men of law enforcement who do an often thankless job, putting their lives on the line every day, under stressful circumstances and quite often under microscopic scrutiny, yet they are out there day after day, night after night, doing the best they can. They take their jobs seriously and take great pride in what they do. During this, Police Week in Ontario, I want to thank the Hamilton Police Service, Constable Paul Kent, Acting Sgt. Ryan Hashimoto, Staff Sgt. John Pauls, Inspector David Hennick and all of the officers I encountered Saturday night for their kindness in allowing me to be a part of their world for a few hours.
Donna Skelly, MPP