Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Another Cop Killer on the Loose


All right, those of you who read me regularly (or fairly regularly!) will know I couldn't leave this death of a young Mountie alone. There were 40 comments on the Globe and Mail Forum regarding this senseless death, all armchair quarterbacks with political comments on the Canadian gun registry, the 3 strikes law, putting drug dealers in jail for life, etc. Nowhere did I read that putting cop killers in mandatory 25 years to life was a great option for reducing police officer shootings. Or perhaps bringing back the death penalty - which we used to have for cop killers and prison guard killers.

One idiot actually commented that the media was making too much of this, as firefighters and construction workers have just as dangerous jobs! And someone (who obviously thinks alot like I do) replied that the difference is no one is SHOOTING at firemen or construction workers while they're working.

Most of my readers know I'm an ex-police officer. I can tell you that at two times in my career I was in dire straits needing back-up that didn't come on time. Once I was in a life and death fight with a guy bigger than me, but hopped up on some drug that made him ten times stronger. I had a cadet with me, and between the two of us we couldn't subdue him. The dispatcher did the same thing as the dispatcher in this sad case: she continued to call "Car 3, what's your location? Car 3, what's your location?" for about ten minutes. Not as long as the 45 minutes this RCMP dispatcher kept calling Worden. I've no doubt she's got her butt in a sling for her stupidity.

In my case, it took cars over 20 minutes to reach me, and the guy nearly strangled me to death. If I hadn't been able to pull my gun, and have him realize in his drugged state that it actually *was* a gun, I have no doubt he'd have finished me off. Timing is everything. In a medium-sized city, ten minutes on the dispatcher and 20 minutes for my back-up to get there was not acceptable in terms of getting help to me. I only had a cadet with me because it was summer time - all other seasons we were one-man cars. Or in my case, one-woman cars.

Cst. Worden should've had back-up when going into a well-known drug and weapon-related area. The problem was, there wasn't any to be had. The Ontario Provincial Police operate in the same way in small towns and have large areas to cover in between them. It's not unusual for an OPP constable to be an hour or more away from another one.

Five a.m. is what we used to call "the twilight hour", even though it was in the morning. People who've been up all night drinking and doing drugs are at their most dangerous then. People who've been fighting all night with their domestic partners are their most dangerous then because they're over-loaded on adrenaline and short on sleep - not to mention, alcohol is usually a factor as well.

No doubt that apartment complex seemed quiet on an early morning at 5 a.m. Most cops don't go to the door of an "unknown" complaint with their guns drawn. If someone's waiting for you on the other side with his gun drawn, you've got exactly two seconds to draw and fire. In that two seconds, he'll have fired and the shot will be on it's way to you, unless you can duck and weave at the same time you're drawing and firing.

I doubt Cst. Worden had a chance. Even the fact that he was found beside a spruce tree "next" to the complex shows the suspect or others pulled him over to the tree and left him there to die. He might have been concious enough to hear his dispatcher "calling" him, on and on, but obviously couldn't respond. Or, we can hope he died instantly and didn't suffer.

If the person(s) who dragged him over to that spruce tree weren't the suspect...and they didn't call it in, I hope the RCMP find them and charge them as accessories after the fact.

The RCMP has a massive recruiting drive on right now. They need a minimum of 600 recruits per year for the next four years to compensate for the retirement attrition.
It's a wonderful career for someone who wants to "live on the edge", help their communities, and do some good. If you fall within the 19-35 age bracket, consider it as a valid choice. More cops live then die. We only hear about those tragic deaths, like this one; not about the quiet heros who go about their business keeping the rest of their communities safe.

May they find "Justin Elise" quickly and deal with him severely.

My sincere condolences to Cst. Worden's wife, daughter, family, and friends.

1 comment:

Tabloid Daze said...

Great post. I'm one of the reporters up in Hay River at the moment trying to make sense of all this. And no, I haven't written anything about him not taking back-up. With a detachment this small, it's not always an option.

Just wondering, have you been posted in a small community before? I'm trying to recreate that experience. It can be rewarding--certainly Cst. Worden thought so--but it also has it's risks, most all too obvious now. Could you give me a call if you have a moment today? I'd love to hear your insights into policing during the twilight hour. Your post about all the possibilities that night is much more insightful than anything I've seen a reporter patch together so far. I'm at 416-435-9708.