Demonstration outlines what it means to the arrested
I was arrested.
As RCMP Cpl. Geordie Simpson slapped the cuffs on me, I quickly realized they hurt and even though I wiggled and protested, they stayed tight. Too tight.
I also learned, in this classroom demonstration, what it means to have my freedom completely under someone else’s control.
I was in a tiny Kneehill Adult Learning Society (KALS) seminar room in Three Hills Fri. Aug. 25 in front of 16 learners when, as part of Cpl. Simpson’s one-hour seminar on laws and rights, road safety, police activities, responsibilities, and limitations, he called for a volunteer.
He wanted to demonstrate what being arrested means. I never had and suspect no one else in the room had either, so Simpson and I fell into role-playing—KALS administrator Emma Dabrowski alleging I had taken her purse, Simpson grabbing his cuffs while advising me I was under arrest on suspicion of theft, and me quickly declaring I carried a hidden knife.
Simpson used the staged arrest to compliment his “police are human too” presentation, telling us he had been a pizza delivery kid, showing pictures of him with a teen-era afro, then later of him as a carpenter, with relatives, and of his wife and the family dog.
An Airdrie resident, Simpson, with an eye to his recruiting responsibility, photo-toured us through the Force’s Regina training centre, touched on the principles of core police values, and related anecdotes from his 25 years with the force, like following through on a Grand Prairie 9-1-1 hang up and possibly saving a woman’s life.
Simpson, one of 20,000 national and internationally posted members, excels with personal touches: letting participants wear his police hat or passing around a well-worn leather wallet containing his RCMP identification card and sparkling gold badge, complete with member number.
“Officers are human too,” he said, re-pocketing the wallet. “We have a day job and when we come home, the uniform comes off and we are the same as anyone else.”
But when on duty, the 56-year-old officer’s responsibilities as a diversity engagement analyst stretch from Red Deer south to the British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and US borders.
“I enjoyed speaking in Three Hills,” he said after his presentation. “What we did today is a vital part of citizens meeting the RCMP. It is our responsibility to ensure that no one, new Canadian or not, is afraid of the police. We are here to help.”