Tuesday, March 29, 2011

There's a First for Everything Part II

1. First Urban Tactical catalogue brought home. Blue drooled the whole time while reading it.
2. After perusing the catalogue, Blue started talking about a 'Go Bag'. Oh yes, he's caught the Go Bag bug.

3. I now understand why police wives joke about their cops having more accessories than Barbie. It's all starting to make sense now...

4. Blue's first target practise sheets were brought home and are now displayed as artwork on our walls. No, it was not my idea. No, I'm not happy about it. (Funny story though: Blue showed off his days work and explained how his first day at the range went. I admired his good aim and then went about my day, getting dinner ready. I happened to walk down to the basement to grab something. Something looked different. My content expression slowly turned into a look of disgust as I realized the sheets had been pinned onto our basement walls...right beside our TV...and we had people coming over! I walked back upstairs to ask Blue to take them down and explain that, 'no, target sheets are NOT artwork'. As I got into the kitchen The Boy zoomed passed me while frantically yelling, "Mom, where's my police gun!??!" Soon after I hear him yelling "POW-POW" while practising his aim. Blue wouldn't take them down. Ugh.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Blue

Dear Blue,

I was stopped at a red light the other night at a busy intersection while driving home. The radio was blaring to keep my sleepy eyes open but I wasn't tuned in. My mind was wandering to other things when I heard the sirens and, soon after, saw the lights. A cruiser was going code down a busy street. It was gone within seconds leaving me still waiting for the green but a smile crept up onto my face. I pictured you in the car, patrolling the night, keeping your city safe. Pride swelled in my heart for what you are undertaking, what you are becoming; an unsung hero. You will be punched, yelled at, spat on, and called horrid names. You will run to what others will be running from. You will see this city at it's worst, the shame and the depravity, but you will keep on going, day after day, with little praise and accolades. You understand the challenge of leading this life, the toll it can take, but you've decided to walk it with your head held high doing the best damn job that you can.

My train of thought was broken by some horrid noises coming out of the radio, Ke$ha. *shudder* I switched the station. The Tragically Hip were playing which reminded me of you once again and the smile returned. The light turned green and I was off, rushing home to spend time with you.

I sure do love you.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Posted By: Blue

So I knew that the city I live and work in had a good police service when I applied.  I just don't think I realized how good I would really have it if I did get on.

We were told the first few weeks to hold our heads high, as we were amongst the few and proud.  At first I thought it was mostly rhetoric and, dare I say... propaganda?  But as the weeks have rolled on and we have had instructor after instructor praising our service, I am definitely getting the opinion that there was never a need for the Brass to lecture our staff about promoting morale by towing the party line.  These cops really do love their jobs and their city.  They love their pay and their vacation time.  They love the fact that we are one of the only cities in North America with a mandatory 2 officers per car.

Our standard shifts are the "4-10" shift (basically supposed to work-out to four ten-hour shifts per seven calendar days).  We rotate with one stretch of days, then evenings, then nights. We have the opportunity to work 5 on, 4 off, with one overlap day per rotation.  That means that every fifth day, there are twice as many cops on duty as any other day.  It gives us the opportunity to do fun stuff like help the detectives, or jump into plain clothes and do vice, or work in stolen autos.  The list is endless.  If you really want, you can use the fifth day to finish paperwork or just take it off with banked overtime. 

And don't get me started on overtime!  Man, there are times when we are going to court and sitting for twenty minutes, only to hear the case has been plead, or that we will not be needed.  That means, if we are there on a scheduled day-off, we are entitled to 10 hours of time in-lieu-of, plus 15 hours of pay.

To boot, we have 3 weeks of paid leave to start (and it quickly builds with years-on), plus every time we work a stat holiday, we get another day in-lieu-of.  Then there's actually sick time.  Three weeks of it per year accumulative.  Man, when I was in construction, I would go into work puking just so I wouldn't miss a day's pay.  Talk about an upgrade.

Now I'm interested as to what kind of scheduing everyone else does?  Care to share?  For instance, the firefighters and paramedics in our city have a 4 on, 4 off split shift (12 hours/shift).  They are currently thinking about going to a 24 hour shift, then 2 days off, then another 24 hour shift, then 5 off (I think that's how it goes...).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day

I wish it was green outside today. It would be more fitting. The Boy rolled out of bed and hardly had a second to open up his eyes before he was already getting out the green construction paper.

The snow is coming down hard and fast, falling atop the already massive piles of snow in my front yard. Sigh. Spring, where are you?

Regardless of the winter weather we are still having, the inside of our house is all St. Patrick's Day. Shamrock crafts - check. Irish Stew - Check. Guinness cooling in the fridge - Check. Everyone wearing green - Check. Mumford and Sons blasting on the stereo - Double Check! Irish Soda Bread - Almost check.

I'm trying to get the kids to embrace their Irish roots. The Boy has been obsessed with Shamrocks for the past week. I'm Irish/Italian and Blue is British/Scottish. We're a feisty bunch.

I didn't really grow-up celebrating St. Patty's Day but since having kids I've enjoyed starting little traditions or partaking in different holiday's/celebrations/festivals. I think it's important to have family traditions, things for the kids to look forward to. It creates a sense of togetherness and belonging.

Is there anything special you do or are doing today?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Family Night

Well, our first Family Night was a success!

I showed-up with the kids a little early (which, apparently, everyone else had thought to do as well). After making sure my hair wasn't tossed around and my hands weren't shaking too badly we braved the cold and walked into the building. The first few moments were probably the most intimidating. All of the recruits were standing just inside the front doors, waiting to claim their arriving friends and family. All eyes fell on the people walking through the doors and it was clear there were many, "Ah, so that's so-and-so's spouse..." looks going around. I think Blue's class was eager to meet some of the spouses and kids they'd been hearing stories of for the past few weeks. I was introduced to some of Blue's group. Two of the girls came up and gushed over The Boys cowboy boots he was wearing.

We were then ushered into the gym for a brief run-down of how the evening would go and then broken-up into groups and shuffled around to different rooms to hear different presentations.

Our first presentation was from the Firearm's guys. The Boy was excited because he got to hold a Glock and put on a Kevlar vest. After that we went to hear all about the Use of Force training and see some of the 'tools' they use. I think the coolest thing that I saw all night was a knife that they use during simulation training. It's called a Shocknife and it sends an electric pulse around the edges of the blade so that when you're 'cut' it makes it feel as though you've actually been cut. It was a pretty interesting looking tool. I liked the Use of Force guys...you could tell they love their jobs.

Next was a demonstration from the K-9 Unit (which the kids loved), Vehicle Operations Unit, a tour through the Police Museum (very interesting!) and finally a presentation from the Bomb Squad. After all of that we had a few moments to grab a drink and mingle about. By that time (9:30pm) the kids were starting to implode so I didn't really walk around and chat with anyone. I got a picture of the four of us (with Blue in his uniform) and then we left.

The recruits were allowed to invite family and friends to that event so it was pretty crowded and hard to see who was with who. There will be a few more family evenings intended for immediate family members only so I'm hoping to connect with some more people then. I did end-up chatting with one lovely woman but I had no idea who she 'belonged' to. Hopefully I'll run into her again.

One thing that I appreciated was that there were NO statistics or scare tactics. One guy had a list of books that would be helpful to read if anyone wanted access to them. A few of the presenters mentioned how important family support was and to keep your officer doing the things that he enjoyed doing before becoming a cop, but it was mainly an information evening for everyone to see what your loved one has been up to or will be up to.

I'm glad that I can now picture the rooms Blue is spending his days in and the people he is spending them with.

One comment trickled down through the grape vine yesterday. A female officer made a comment to Blue about me and, I must say, it made my day. I know that I need to be more confident with the fact that I am likable, but meeting new people seems to be one area that I have a hard time getting over. I'm just happy that Blue is 6'5"...he's good for hiding behind. (Kidding)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Foray - An initial attempt (especially outside your usual areas of competence)

Tonight is Family Night down at the academy. There will be a bunch of different units 'performing' for all of the kids. Blue will be in uniform. There's a mingling time with refreshments so all the 'other-halfs' can be introduced and all the officers can show-off their children. Blue's mom and step-dad are even coming down to join in the fun. 

I'm nervous. I've been thinking about this night for two weeks now. I guess part of me is excited to see what Blue has been up to and have some faces and places to put to stories he's been telling me, but I'm mainly nervous. The Boy has been counting down the days. Waffle yelps out, "Mama, Mcademy!" whenever anyone says the word 'academy'.

I bought a new shirt. I went and got my hair cut last week.

I have a hard time meeting new people. I have a hard time with crowds. I have a horrid time meeting new people in crowds.

I've spent a lot of time moving out of my 'comfort zone' this past year, putting myself out there to know and be known, to like and be liked. It's something that I've always struggled with and I'm finally starting to move past it....kind-of. I've come leaps and bounds from where I used to be, but the idea of being in a situation that is so totally foreign to me with so many strangers to talk to makes me nervous.

So tonight is my first foray into this whole police wife thing. I'll let you know how it goes.

Fake it 'till you make it, right?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

TPB Statement

Blue had some homework today. He needed to practise taking a statement. His homework was to find a family member or friend and take a statement on the last TV show that they watched.

Obviously, I was picked.

And what was the last TV show that I watched that has now been recorded, in statement form, for Blue's "higher-up's" to read about?

An episode from Season 4 of Trailer Park Boys.

Oops. Sorry Blue.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There's a First for Everything

Some firsts that have been noteworthy (for me, at least):
  1. First load of my policeman's uniform washed and dried.
  2. First test done and out of the way - Criminal Code 24/7 for the past week and it's only just the beginning.
  3. First time I woke-up to Blue's dreams being affected by his police work (I suppose I should say 'learning')...he was yelling-out drills in his sleep last night.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chess and Checkers

Posted by: Blue

You know, the more I think about it; the more I learn about this new job of mine, the more I think about it as a game.

Now don't get me wrong.  I don't mean to imply that it's the kind of game that my kids play on their Playstation, or the kind you might host at a dinner party.  On the contrary, it's a game of life and death;  justice and injustice; crime and punishment; victim and criminal.  It matters everthing that we, the Good Guys, win the game.

The more I learn about the law and about prosecution and defense, I realize that criminals and their lawyers are playing games every day.  The difference seems to be that we, the Good Guys, know the true stakes (or maybe the bad guys know too but just don't care).  We know the devastation of lives after a robbery or a rape or a murder.  We live through the fallout of abuse and violence every day of our careers.  The overwhelming sense that I get when learning from the senior officers at academy, is that most of the time, when prosecuting the criminals and bad guys, you know, you KNOW that the person is guilty.  You KNOW that they have taken a life, or beaten their wife to within inches of death, or abused a child, or even so simply were travelling over the speed limit.  You KNOW.  There is little or no doubt in many of the cases.

The argument for the defense then becomes one of procedure or of infractions.  The argument becomes one of fundamental rights of the accused.  The argument becomes: "Did the officers complete their duties to the letter of the law?  Were all the I's dotted and T's crossed?"  The argument becomes technicalities and loopholes.

Now, there was a time in my life when I would have said that if someone was guilty, they should simply be locked-up and the key tossed.  No screwing around with "bullshit" loopholes or technicalities.  I still believe that the guilty must, and will pay, but I have begun to understand the role that rights and freedoms play in society on a deeper level.  The guaranteed rights and freedoms that we have here in Canada under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms are absolutely necessary to protect the innocent.  If they were simply thrown away when a police officer guaranteed on oath that a person was guilty, there would be no point in establishing those rights and freedoms.

The difficulty has always been that those freedoms can also become a refuge for the guilty if the officers who are bringing them to court have not executed their duties in a manner that upholds the law at a level that is above reproach.

I think that as I have sat and listened to stories, lectures and case law, I have begun to develop the sense that this game that we are playing isn't checkers.  It's not just a lazy, whimsical thing.  This is chess.  There are rules.  There are details.  There are strategies.  If I'm not playing every day at the top of my game, I lose.  And when I lose, the guilty go free.  It's a sobering thought.

But if it's had any effect on me, it has been to strengthen my resolve to play the best damn game of chess that I can, every day of my life.

Bring it on, defense lawyers.  I'll be ready.