Thanks, Officer – The Review Newspaper

I haven’t had much contact with law enforcement. The odd speeding ticket, a few parking tickets. Oh yeah, there was this time on my 19and birthday when I was pulled aside by an OPP officer in the field off Highway 45 near Cobourg. But it was all just a misunderstanding. For my part.

And I’m willing to admit that I’ve been guilty, usually of something minor, far more often than I’ve been arrested for it. Haven’t we all?

I have called the cops a few times. Once, living in Montreal, I was coming home late at night and suddenly smelled gas leaking, so I dialed 911. A neighbor came out to ask me what was going on when the police and firefighters arrived, a lit cigarette hanging from his lips.

As a kid, I never wanted to be a cop. The only uniform I wanted to wear at the time had a big blue maple leaf in the middle.

While I have no criticism of regular cops based on personal experience, I have a different view of detectives or detectives or whatever. I had always assumed that cops without uniforms were promoted on merit. At least that’s what it seems on the TV shows I’ve watched.

My first experience involved a burglary at a ground floor apartment I had just moved into in the heart of Vancouver’s West End. I had gone away for the weekend to a wedding, and when I arrived home on Monday morning, I saw that my house had been broken into. I closed the door and called the police.

Investigators arrived, assessed the situation, noticed the broken window, dusted off the fingerprints, and said they would call me. The next day, while I was at work at the newspaper, I received a phone call. “Are you Mike Gasher?” “Yes.” “Do you hear that music playing in the background? ” “Yes.” “This is yours.” The caller was a friend of the burglar and wanted to trade my stuff for the money I owed the thief.

When I was able to convince the caller that it wasn’t me who owed the thief money, there was silence. Then an apology. And then he gave me his address and phone number so I could come and pick up my stuff.

I immediately called the detectives, who drew up a master plan. I arranged to meet the caller to collect my belongings in the northeast corner of the parking lot next to Mr. Submarine, where they would have installed a sting. I thought about that scenario for a second, then I said, “He gave me his name and address. Why don’t you go get it? They thought it was brilliant detective work on my part.

My second encounter with costumed police was scarier. I woke up very early one morning to the sound of breaking glass, and when I looked out my bedroom window, I could see that the building across the way was on fire. It was a nursing home, so my first thought was to rush out and help people out of the building.

Halfway through, I remembered that the house had closed and was being renovated. So I ran to my apartment to get my camera and take pictures for the newspaper. It was then that Sgt. Pepper – oops, sorry – pulled me aside for a few questions. Turns out a neighbor had spotted me running away from the burning building, so I was suspected of arson. Apparently, arsonists like to watch their fires and often take pictures. The detective smelled my hands, examined my shoes, confiscated my film and recorded my name, phone number and address. He would be in touch.

My only thought then, after reading Kafka, was how to prove that you doesn’t do something? Especially when I was alone and a witness claimed to have seen me running away from the building?

A few days later, I was asked to come to the police station. The detective put me in one of those interrogation rooms you see on television and asked me a series of questions, repeating each one. It was very intimidating. “Did you start the fire?” “Nope.” “Did you start the fire?” “Nope.”

After about 15 minutes he said he didn’t have enough evidence to charge me and returned my film with the developed photos. Well, he said sternly, he had a few last questions before I could leave.

“So you are a sports journalist? “Uh-huh.” “What do you think of the Canucks this year?”

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