Police fund raising

Yesterday I got a call from the Police Association of Ontario. It was basically a telemarketing call as they were trying to raise funds. This really bothers me for a couple of reasons.

I always find it very intimidating when the police associations or the fire department equivalent call looking for money. As a society we definitely owe these people something. They are the reason why we have law and order (not the show) and good emergency response. However, they are also in a position that makes them very intimidating. What happens if I don’t give money to one of these groups? Does my name get put on a little list so next time I am speeding I get a ticket instead of a warning? Will the fire department be just a little bit slower getting to my house if there is a call? Sure, all of these ideas sound pretty far fetched. What if the person calling is not a hired sales droid but is an off duty police officer who lives down the street? Or a off duty fireman who recognizes the address on the emergency radio as the address of the person who was rude to him on the phone last night. Perhaps these feelings are more acute for me because I grew up in a small community where if the local departments did the calling these coincidences could easily come true. These feelings may not be based on any kind of logic but they do exist, at least for me. Personally, I have a lot harder time saying no to the police and fire department telemarketing fund raisers than I do any other group. In fact, yesterday might have been the first time I actually did say no to them and that’s because of my second point.

One of the reasons they were asking for donations is to lobby for law changes. The pitch went immediately to sex offenders. “Do you watch the news? Yes. Then you have heard about the recent problems in Brampton.” For those outside of Ontario he was referring to this. The nice tele-sales guy then preceded to explain that the laws are too lax and that criminals who are released just re-offend so the law should be changed to keep them in jail. Another example of the Police Association of Ontario’s politics can be found on their website; the little ‘Club fed’ logo. Obviously, they think the prison system is too easy on criminals. Police officers are given a special role by our society. The role of upholding the law. With this role comes respect and power. By using this position to raise funds and lobby for changes to the legal system they exert unfair influence on our society. It is not the role of the police to make laws, we have the elected officials and the judiciary to do that.

I’m sure the Police Association believes what they are doing is correct and it’s probably not illegal. Whether they realize it or not they abusing the power that their role in society gives them.

5 thoughts on “Police fund raising

  1. s

    I believe that the laws do need to change, and the police see over and over again reoffenders. I was recently a victim to a murder plot and before that same person assaulted me and broke my nose, and he got practically nothing for my nose and I had to undergo and operation and cannot smell or breathe properly ever again, and for the murder plot he got 5 years that is it, I think that my life is worth more than 5 years don’t you? I do think that there are more laws protecting the criminals than the victims, as I have been through hell and back I can speak from a victims point of view. I do believe that the police are correct since they see this all the time and I think that they need more support in trying to change the laws.

  2. Dan Siemon Post author

    Interestingly, you posted this thoughtful comment two years to the day after I posted the article.

    The main point of my original post was that it is not the role of the police to influence policy. The police enforce the policies created by the judiciary and elected officials. In order to enforce these policies the police are given a special power, a monopoly on the use of force. This puts the police in a position of power that should not be abused to influence the political process.

    Secondly, you are correct in the fact that the police deal with criminals every day. On one hand this gives the police insight that other people may lack. On the other hand, spending every day dealing with situations where the law may have failed has the potential to create a very biased opinion.

    On to your story, please do not take any offense to any of this, I do not pretend to know the details of your particular situation.

    What changes do you want made to the law?

    I see the logic in punishing subsequent offenses harsher than the first offense. However, I worry about increasing the punishment for smaller offenses in the hope of stopping later or larger offenses.

    I suppose the law could be changed to have first offense assault be punished by several years of jail time. That may have stopped the murder plot in your situation, I don’t know. However, the result of this law change is that this person will now spend several years in jail, surrounded by other people who have committed crimes. What does the time away from normal, non-criminal people due to the likelihood that the person will commit further crimes? Forcing a bunch of “bad” people to spend time together probably won’t result in “good” people.

    and for the murder plot he got 5 years that is it, I think that my life is worth more than 5 years don’t you?

    Yes, your life is worth a lot more than five years. Fortunately, he didn’t take your life. If he had the punishment would have been much more severe. Punishing an individual for crimes they could have committed is very dangerous.

    Thankyou for your thoughts.

  3. she

    I am not at all upset in how the police handled the situation, they did everything that they could do possible.
    If I could change the laws I would make dead time outta there, there is no need to get 1 / 2 for time done, when you are found guilty. Each case should be evaulated differently.
    As for a murder plot where he thought I was dead and it was all stated on tape, talking about how I was to die, and after I was dead the celebration, and thoughts on what to do next. And how I died, what was it like, what happened, what did it sound like. This was extremelly difficult to watch this tape. I think that the laws should have charged him with 1st degree murder, because he did go through with it so he thought. I think that the sentence in this case should have been much more.

    And yes a bunch of bad people in one place for years, don’t make a good person, but loosing his freedom, and having time to think about what he lost, his little girl, and years of his life, might make him think that he could do better for himself. Maybe hopefully get some counsilling, and dry out from the drugs and beer. Maybe have a clearer mind of things.

  4. Marie A.

    I was just looking for the PAO website where I could find their fundraising endeavours….did I find it? No. this eveing I got a call from a telemarketer representing the PAO. He wanted to sell me a package of whatever (he got all messed up with his words he was reading)and it was to help the Association in their efforts to get internet accessibility by the inmates of our Ontario prisons. I told this young man that I had my chosen charities for this year, i.e. Men’s Mission, Women’s Shelter/London, Ont. and Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario…he was very persistent. I continued to try to make him see that I could add another charity on my list…and what does he do? He hung up on me!!!! Man was I P-O’d. I was trying to be nice and resonable and I heard CLICK! The next time the POA telemarketers, I’ll be the one hanging up on them. Nasty phone manners!!! There I’ve vented and I feel better.

  5. David H

    Yes, they hung up on me too. I also think they are abusing their privileged position OR the whole thing is a scam unrelated to the police association.

    I am tending towards the latter in my thinking at the moment.


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