EDITORIAL: Better safe than sorry

Police response to a 911 call in South Surrey Wednesday has been termed ‘overkill’ by some, but necessarily nonetheless.

They’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

Police response to a 911 call in South Surrey midday Wednesday has been termed ‘overkill’ by some, particularly since the call, reporting a violent domestic incident, turned out to be a prank.

To most, the sight of RCMP members armed with assault rifles, a tactical armoured vehicle, a canine squad – and about a dozen other vehicles – swarming a quiet Peninsula neighbourhood is disturbing.

As an image of the increasing militarization of our police forces, it makes us long for some kinder, gentler past where the idea of massed police response and ‘lockdowns’ of schools – both H.T. Thrift Elementary and Semiahmoo Secondary took that preventative measure at the request of the RCMP – were virtually unknown; when the most likely first responder was a solitary beat officer, or a single squad car.

But, given the times in which we live, what would we have the police do?

Numerous incidents of murders and standoffs between shooters and police in domestic cases – even over the last year – have heightened our awareness of the volatility of such situations.

It’s been a sad fact of life, ever since the formation of modern police forces, that responders, no matter how brave or well-trained, never know what they’re walking into.

And domestic situations have been among the deadliest, even in the kinder, gentler past we like to imagine. (It’s close to 100 years ago that a Vancouver chief constable was killed while attempting, courageously, to confront an armed and dangerous man barricaded in an apartment with his spouse.)

It’s easy to decry heavily armed officers surrounding a home containing only one confused and alarmed resident. But, had the situation been a genuine one – a murder, say, committed by a distraught, desperate, armed individual – what would have been the outcome of sending only one or two patrol officers to knock on the door? It’s possible we would have been reporting a tragedy in which two or three or more had died.

When the safety of our residents, our children, our officers – even the life of an apparent perpetrator – are at stake, it’s better to be there with too much, too soon, than be there with too little, too late.

Just Posted

New West mayor says Surrey won’t be left out in transit 10-year plan

Jonathan Cote one of two speakers at luncheon focusing on transportation, land use planning

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside North Delta elementary school

The officer was intervening in an alleged assault outside of Immaculate Conception School when he and the woman were stabbed

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could say the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Most Read

l -->