As a child wondering what profession would call me fluctuated, first and foremost educator, however thoughts of becoming an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor, a police officer, a social worker, a biologist, a psychologist, a comedian, an actor, a reporter, an author, a speaker, a coach, an equestrian, a photographer, an artist – all found their way in the consideration category.
Becoming an educator afforded me, not only the opportunity to fulfill a passion and live my purpose, I also was able to explore many of my other pursuits within the parameters of being a ‘teacher’. Ask the students who saw me on stage performing, usually as Cher, brief stint as Scary Spice, and myriad of other characters. I learned the skill of cold calls, which allowed me to spend time in a variety of agencies, organizations, and businesses to get a tiny look through the window of what happens in the world of work. The countless roles and jobs I held over those 30 years broaden the strong foundation that was the result of years working in the family restaurant business. Pursuing hobbies, volunteering, being entrepreneurial, or simply saying ‘yes’ to an opportunity provided the participation to momentarily captured the essence of one small fragment of my dreams. To say I am one of the lucky ones is truly an understatement.
During my years in education I held over 25 jobs for some the comment could be she couldn’t hold a job. My perspective for my sanity over the years was so many could have the opportunity to experience “Anna”. Upon reflection to balance the perspective the opportunity to be in a number of schools, teaching a myriad of subjects, working in a school and within the system taught be the value of learning more about how all roles/jobs count. Being a permanent supply teacher in the 80s opened my eyes to the responsibilities of the different disciplines and areas. I became an ally for colleagues because I could with the glimpse I was afforded.
Because of my past experiences my thirst for knowing more and understanding more of what others need to, are required to do, and want to do; I continue to seek learning opportunities.
As a child growing up my respect for police officers was ingrained; as a teenager working at the Small Frye Restaurant, I got to know some of the officers from frontline to Chief; as an educator police officers built relationships through sports games and regular visits, yes there was also need to call for their assistance, however community & relationship building far outnumbered the calls for assistance; as an educator I was able to work on projects and student placements with the service under the tenures of Chief Zannibi, Chief McCauley and Chief Davidson. The most memorable project is Mkwa, which is still moving along strong thanks to the efforts of Cst. Grant Dokis (Mkwa is most likely the reason I am blessed with the role I have now.); and lastly I am working within GSPS as an Education Coordinator. With all this exposure and opportunity to really know what the life of an officer looks like, I would be hard pressed to give you the true picture. Be an advocate and ally, you betcha! Defend them for their work, you betcha!
On Friday night thanks to one of the officers I had a bird’s eye view on a day in the life of an office. So now I have a snapshot. When given a choice of when, I chose the afternoon shift. From the time we entered the car until, the shift was completed we moved from call-to-call. I peppered the officer with questions from the beginning to the end and each one was answered. In every single call the dialogue between the officer(s) depending where we were, the citizen(s) were treated with respect. I observed compassion and options. The officer knows the knowledge of human response to a situation, so as an individual moves through the stages, the officer sits patiently and on a number of occasions hears abusive language in heated tones directed at him. No change in the officer’s level of patience or does he takes the slings and arrows personally; he simply waits. As well as those who were less than pleased to have an interaction with an officer, there were those who were grateful and appreciated the lessons.
One of the interactions I enjoyed the most was the camaraderie of the officers. They need to trust one another and rely on one another. Their sense of humour is a tool as anyone who works knows a sense of humour creates a healthy workplace. Witnessing their kibitzing back and forth, I also got a sense it keeps them balanced and ready. I can tell you I laughed, I pondered, I wondered, and I didn’t cry. When I saw firsthand what is required, what is happening in our community, and how the police are an integral component to keep us safe, there were no needs for tears. My tears wouldn’t change anyone’s circumstance or get me any closer to trying to figure out how I could be of assistance. What I came away with was more resolve to continue to work with others who know there are needs to be addressed, people who have within them potential and brilliance, they are just stuck at the moment. If they keep on the path of not knowing what is possible, they will miss a hopeful life. In the meantime, the police are the people we depend on to keep us safe, what many of us don’t know is how they do their job. From my snapshot of one officer and one platoon we are blessed in Greater Sudbury. Officers respond with a multitude of skills ready to address the situation. They are not only frontline officers; they are frontline educators, social workers, nurses, and psychologists.
The next time you see an officer, how about a hello and thank you?