To protect and serve you 0
George Orwell once famously said, "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
On Feb. 7, in rural Alberta, two RCMP officers, both very junior in service, were shot while executing a warrant. As the story was breaking, tremors went around the policing world, suddenly reminded of that horrible day in March 2005 when four young Mounties were ambushed and murdered by James Roszko outside Mayerthorpe, Alta.
The two wounded officers, Const. Sidney Gaudette and Const. Sheldon Shah, were part of a four-man team attempting to execute a search warrant looking for a handgun. They went to the front door and the other two went to the rear of the house to cover the back door in case someone inside did a runner.
Gaudette and Shah entered the house and were speaking with Sawyer Clarke Robison, 27, when suddenly, the man's uncle, Brad Clarke, opened fire from behind the officers.
Gaudette was hit first below his body armour and went down immediately. Nine shots were then fired at Shah in a rapid fire fusillade. Four hit Shah in his vest, two more in the leg and shoulder and he was grazed in the neck and head.
Despite his wounds Shah got a shot off, fatally wounding Clarke and undoubtedly saving the lives of himself and his partner. Gaudette and himself then managed to crawl out of the house while Robison fled in his pick-up truck. He was captured a week later after a tearful plea from his family to turn himself in. The wounded officers were airlifted to hospital and into surgery.
Fortunately, both officers are recovering from their wounds and have since been released from hospital. The two young men, both of whom had fathers who served in the RCMP, were on their first detachment posting in the small town of Killam, Alta.
It's all too easy to criticize the RCMP for mistakes made by an out-of-touch leadership or when a rogue member does something that embarrasses the rest of the policing community. But, in reality, there are thousands of good men and women across this country who risk life and limb on a daily basis for the safety of us all.
The events in Killam are a reminder of that as we listen to all the hyperbole about the uncaring police being spewed at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Police care enough to deliberately stand in harm's way. In the eyes of some, that isn't enough. But it should speak volumes.