Hamilton Police Service's professionalism on display during arrest

Opinion May 26, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

I’d just finished having lunch with an old friend and former colleague. We were sitting, chatting when we saw a police car, with its lights flashing, stop almost directly in front of us. The officer behind the wheel got out and reached for his gun and started making his way down Delawana Drive.

Where sensible, sane people would have stayed put, we two journalists sprang from the SUV with almost the same vigour as the officer and headed towards a black Honda that seemed to be the object of the cop’s attention.

We heard him yell to the car’s occupants to get out of the vehicle and to lie down on the ground, which they did without incident.

While it had been many years since either of us had been full-time reporters, the instincts we’d developed thanks to countless hours chasing down news kicked right in and soon he was shooting video on his phone (a clip of which can be seen on our website) and I was doing my best to shoot photos and tweet from mine.

More police arrived, including one carrying a shotgun, and within minutes there were at least five patrol cars on the scene. The two suspects were taken away in handcuffs to separate police vehicles and the officers began to search the car for evidence.

Now, as I write this, I realize that I may come across as a bit of a corn-fed rube, but my thoughts on witnessing the whole incident was: “Wow, it’s just like it happens on TV.” (I guess all those technical advisors on all those police procedurals earn their money.) However, how the events differed greatly from what I’ve seen on both the large and small screens (not to mention the news of late) was the professionalism of the officers involved.

Yes, they had their fire arms drawn (and given the nature of the incident that preceeded the stop, they would have been fools not to) and pointed at the suspects, but there wasn’t even a whiff of the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later cops that pervade pop culture. Yes, they were loud and forceful with their commands (and they needed to be clear to those inside the car and those watching on the street what they needed to happen), but the language was always respectful — no “scumbag” or “sleezeball” being yelled at the suspects.

I can’t say I was surprised, as the vast majority of police officers I’ve ever known or worked with have been quite professional, but it was great to see that their ideals in practice in the field and not just in the office.

At the time we had no idea what had precipitated this level of takedown (although we were told by another onlooker that he had heard they were involved in a dispute earlier on), but back at the office it didn’t take us, or the rest of the media, long to discover that it had been a shooting. Yet in spite of that, all the initial police press release said the arrests had to do with a “street disturbance,” as if the two men in the car had been caught playing their stereo too loudly.

Having seen Hamilton Police in action, I get the feeling that the reaction would have been much different had that been the case.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Hamilton Police Service's professionalism on display during arrest

Opinion May 26, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

I’d just finished having lunch with an old friend and former colleague. We were sitting, chatting when we saw a police car, with its lights flashing, stop almost directly in front of us. The officer behind the wheel got out and reached for his gun and started making his way down Delawana Drive.

Where sensible, sane people would have stayed put, we two journalists sprang from the SUV with almost the same vigour as the officer and headed towards a black Honda that seemed to be the object of the cop’s attention.

We heard him yell to the car’s occupants to get out of the vehicle and to lie down on the ground, which they did without incident.

While it had been many years since either of us had been full-time reporters, the instincts we’d developed thanks to countless hours chasing down news kicked right in and soon he was shooting video on his phone (a clip of which can be seen on our website) and I was doing my best to shoot photos and tweet from mine.

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More police arrived, including one carrying a shotgun, and within minutes there were at least five patrol cars on the scene. The two suspects were taken away in handcuffs to separate police vehicles and the officers began to search the car for evidence.

Now, as I write this, I realize that I may come across as a bit of a corn-fed rube, but my thoughts on witnessing the whole incident was: “Wow, it’s just like it happens on TV.” (I guess all those technical advisors on all those police procedurals earn their money.) However, how the events differed greatly from what I’ve seen on both the large and small screens (not to mention the news of late) was the professionalism of the officers involved.

Yes, they had their fire arms drawn (and given the nature of the incident that preceeded the stop, they would have been fools not to) and pointed at the suspects, but there wasn’t even a whiff of the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later cops that pervade pop culture. Yes, they were loud and forceful with their commands (and they needed to be clear to those inside the car and those watching on the street what they needed to happen), but the language was always respectful — no “scumbag” or “sleezeball” being yelled at the suspects.

I can’t say I was surprised, as the vast majority of police officers I’ve ever known or worked with have been quite professional, but it was great to see that their ideals in practice in the field and not just in the office.

At the time we had no idea what had precipitated this level of takedown (although we were told by another onlooker that he had heard they were involved in a dispute earlier on), but back at the office it didn’t take us, or the rest of the media, long to discover that it had been a shooting. Yet in spite of that, all the initial police press release said the arrests had to do with a “street disturbance,” as if the two men in the car had been caught playing their stereo too loudly.

Having seen Hamilton Police in action, I get the feeling that the reaction would have been much different had that been the case.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Hamilton Police Service's professionalism on display during arrest

Opinion May 26, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

I’d just finished having lunch with an old friend and former colleague. We were sitting, chatting when we saw a police car, with its lights flashing, stop almost directly in front of us. The officer behind the wheel got out and reached for his gun and started making his way down Delawana Drive.

Where sensible, sane people would have stayed put, we two journalists sprang from the SUV with almost the same vigour as the officer and headed towards a black Honda that seemed to be the object of the cop’s attention.

We heard him yell to the car’s occupants to get out of the vehicle and to lie down on the ground, which they did without incident.

While it had been many years since either of us had been full-time reporters, the instincts we’d developed thanks to countless hours chasing down news kicked right in and soon he was shooting video on his phone (a clip of which can be seen on our website) and I was doing my best to shoot photos and tweet from mine.

Related Content

More police arrived, including one carrying a shotgun, and within minutes there were at least five patrol cars on the scene. The two suspects were taken away in handcuffs to separate police vehicles and the officers began to search the car for evidence.

Now, as I write this, I realize that I may come across as a bit of a corn-fed rube, but my thoughts on witnessing the whole incident was: “Wow, it’s just like it happens on TV.” (I guess all those technical advisors on all those police procedurals earn their money.) However, how the events differed greatly from what I’ve seen on both the large and small screens (not to mention the news of late) was the professionalism of the officers involved.

Yes, they had their fire arms drawn (and given the nature of the incident that preceeded the stop, they would have been fools not to) and pointed at the suspects, but there wasn’t even a whiff of the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later cops that pervade pop culture. Yes, they were loud and forceful with their commands (and they needed to be clear to those inside the car and those watching on the street what they needed to happen), but the language was always respectful — no “scumbag” or “sleezeball” being yelled at the suspects.

I can’t say I was surprised, as the vast majority of police officers I’ve ever known or worked with have been quite professional, but it was great to see that their ideals in practice in the field and not just in the office.

At the time we had no idea what had precipitated this level of takedown (although we were told by another onlooker that he had heard they were involved in a dispute earlier on), but back at the office it didn’t take us, or the rest of the media, long to discover that it had been a shooting. Yet in spite of that, all the initial police press release said the arrests had to do with a “street disturbance,” as if the two men in the car had been caught playing their stereo too loudly.

Having seen Hamilton Police in action, I get the feeling that the reaction would have been much different had that been the case.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.