McGregor Says: Just doing their job

I was honoured recently to attend an awards ceremony for the Langley detachment of the RCMP.

The ceremony is held annually to present the RCMP service awards, the Officer in Charge commendations and long-service awards.

As a proud Canadian, I am always impressed with events such as this where the maple leaf is accented by the highly recognizable red serge.

The march in of the dignitaries, officers and members is always very impressive.

The staff that organized the event did a fantastic job and made it a memorable experience for the participants, the recipients and the audience.

As I watched the seats fill up with more than 65 regular and auxiliary members, my mind drifted back to the much simpler Langley I grew up in.

This night, the detachment was represented by its superintendent and even though there were many members here, we knew there were many more out on duty in the community.

I can recall when the top ranking officer here was a staff sergeant, backed up by a corporal and a handful of members that protected the predominantly farming community.

We knew them all by name and they lived in the community, became members of the service clubs, coached sports teams, shopped and went to church here.

We young boys got to know which ones were serious and who had a sense of humour. We knew which buildings or fences they parked behind and we got to know who gave out warnings and who gave out tickets and they got to recognize our cars and knew where we lived.

But regardless of their temperaments or personalities we respected them because they were members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and that’s what we had been taught to do.

Over the years in the fire service, I met many fine men and women in that uniform  who I enjoyed working with at fire scenes or community events and I knew many that retired never having pulled their revolvers from their holsters, but still maintained the right and always got their man.

During the ceremony I was somewhat surprised when I saw members being recognized for many occurrences that I hadn’t heard of in our community.

Two female members had successfully performed CPR and revived a patient but I don’t remember seeing that on the six o’clock news.

One member prevented a man from jumping from a third floor window.

Another constable was at a school and recognized that a young girl was showing signs of an overdose and hearing that the ambulance was to be delayed she put her in her car and took her to the hospital and saved her life.

An entire shift, including the dispatchers, were recognized for their exemplary conduct in evacuating an apartment complex that was being threatened by a fire and getting the people to safety.

I never saw that story. It seems only the negative stories make the front page or the evening news.

Supt. Murray Power pointed out that often split second decisions have to be made in extreme circumstances and it happens every shift, every day.

The actions recognized here were a result of people using their training and doing their job.

Next time you get a chance, stop and shake a member’s hand and thank them for the job they do.

That doesn’t happen often and it means as much to them as a plaque or a medal.

At least that’s what McGregor says.