My Encounter With the Aylmer Police

The Incident

Yesterday afternoon I dropped my daughter off at work in town. Near the place she works I saw two Aylmer police cruisers behind the vehicle of an elderly women who looked to be in some distress. Recognizing the woman as a friend I felt it was my place to help, so after driving by I turned around and parked a hundred or so meters back, donned my mask, and set out on foot to see if I could be of assistance. 

There had been a very mild fender bender and the other vehicle had already left. However, there was some unfinished business with my elderly friend. I said hello to my friend and introduced myself to the officers. 

The Encounter

What happened next? I’ll tell you, but first allow me to admit something I’m a little embarrassed about in hindsight.  As I was turning around, I paused as I considered getting out of my vehicle. I second guessed whether I should try to offer assistance. Why? Well, I discovered I was worried about how my offer of assistance might be received. How would the officers respond, in these tense times, in the middle of a state of emergency and a stay-at-home order, to me entering this situation? I wondered if they’d be angry and if their response would be hostile.  

I actually thought these things, and I’d like to say I’m not sure why, but the reason is kind of obvious to me. If you start a sentence with “It’s been a hard year for…” there is no end to the options for how to finish the sentence. But it really has been a hard year for police officers in North America. Closer to home, I haven’t heard much good about the local police in the past year either. Some even believe they are so awful that they’re worthy of intimidation and mistreatment. And so I discovered that my view of police officers has been tainted not by my personal experience, but by the events reported in the news over the last year.

What Happened Next?

But I got out anyway. I offered to help anyway. And I was immediately welcomed with open arms (I say that figuratively, of course). There was not a single negative note in their reception of my assistance. In fact, it was all gratitude and eager cooperation. 

As I continued to enquire about what had happened, I discovered that these two officers had been models of leniency and decency and compassion throughout the encounter. For the sake of my friend’s privacy I won’t mention specifics, but I will say this: the officers, rather than ticketing her hundreds of dollars as they rightfully could have, instead issued three summonses for a court appearance where she will be able to explain her mistake and probably come away with no financial penalty.

Are You Still With Me?

I titled this post in such a way that your assumptions would be tested, as mine were yesterday. Be honest, you probably clicked here expecting a negative report, didn’t you? Because that’s almost exclusively what gets reported. That’s what is deemed newsworthy. 

After the encounter I began to reflect on the other interactions I’ve had with police officers in my lifetime. There haven’t been many but there have been a few: an interview when I was 10 or 11 after it was suspected that a friend of mine had committed arson; a couple of speeding tickets over the years; more recently, being pulled over due to a misunderstanding. Every encounter I’ve had with police officers has been positive. 

Now, I know other people have different experiences – experiences that would lead them to an appropriate skepticism and even legitimate fears in the same circumstances I encountered. I don’t fault them for that, but I should not discount my positive experiences on the basis of their negative experiences. Someday perhaps I will have a negative encounter with the police, and then I’ll write about that.

Are there bad-apple police officers? Yes.

And there are bad-apple massage therapists and bad-apple doctors and bad-apple pastors? Yes. 

And I hate to tell you this, but there is even a “bad-apple-whatever-you-are” too.

The problem is that at this point we’ve heard so much bad news about so many people that we’ve exchanged the benefit of the doubt for the assumption of hostility… and that’s not good. 

Let’s make it a good news day! In the comments below, feel free to share a positive experience you’ve had with law enforcement. 

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9 Replies to “My Encounter With the Aylmer Police”

  1. I have family members that are officers, one now retired and one who has been decorated a few times. Great individuals.

    Yes, I have had encounters with police officers, speeding tickets, a domestic situation that I was a witness to and an encounter in a Tim Hortons with my nephews when they were small. The officers were having their dinner and invited the boys over to say hello. Awesome.

    I did have one encounter that was not positive and I wrote a letter to our Chief of Police at the time. I received a call from an officer from their PR department with an apology for what happened, that the officers had been spoken to and a bit of an explanation for what happened, not an excuse but it made me think differently about their day.

    The PR officer said that, for the most part, interactions police officers have is with individuals who are not role models and sometimes it is difficult for them to make the switch and deal with someone who is not verbally attacking them. Their job is tough and I wouldn’t want it. I therefore thank God on a regular basis for the individuals who are willing to do the job. As you said, there are some bad apples but in my industry, we have them too.

    Good for you for stopping to help.

  2. I had a fender bender back in early October, sliding on a wet road with no where to go. The officer who showed up was very kind spoken and, even though I couldn’t see his entire face due to his mask, I sure appreciated how he handled everything. In fact, the lady whose bumper I dinged was also nice and so was her husband when he showed up! NIceness all around. Two tow trucks showed up and guess what? Nice guys. They had hoped for my business but alas, I went with what the nice officer suggested because his option was way cheaper.
    Thank you, Michael, for this lovely story. Thumbs up to, masked man, for stopping to help your friend and two thumbs up (well you all deserve two thumbs) to the Aylmer officers and their kindness. It always goes a long way.

  3. All of my encounters with law enforcement have been mostly positive, and by mostly I mean I got what I deserved even though it upset me. But the encounters were never in a negative manner. And when I needed their assistance they were always polite and helpful. I feel that those people that have a ‘bad’ experience with law enforcement are usually on the wrong side of the law and hate to admit it. But as you said their are always done bad apples on both sides and that can’t be avoided.

  4. I got pull over this summer for speeding on a early Sunday morning as I was going to the church to fix an uploading problem with one of our online worship services. After explaining my situation the police officer in simple conversation, He said you know what, slow down and have a good day. I have always found if you are respectful of the police officers they will be respectful to you.

  5. I was stopped once for speeding as I was lost in thought taking some groceries to a friend. She had the flu, her three kids had chicken pox and her husband was away working with their only vehicle.
    After explaining this to the officer….I apologized saying I had never been stopped before, he reached into his pocket and gave me $50.00 and said, ” get some extra things for your friend and watch your speed!”. Loved the Aylmer Police!

  6. I have a lifetime of positive encounters with police…my Dad was a police officer for 30+ years. I guess that could also mean I had some negative encounters too, but those were much more “Dad encounters” than “police encounters”. I can honestly say that I have never had a horribly negative experience.i have had a grumpy officer, but never a mean one. I am blessed.

  7. When I first started driving I had an at fault accident and I was freaking out about what the cops would do or what my dad would say, but looking back now the officer did his best to calm me down and only gave me a minor ticket instead of charging me with carelessness.
    I will be honest I was expecting a bad report.
    Thank you for sharing.

  8. I had my first grandmal seizure this summer in aylmer no frills. I don’t remember anything. I felt dizzy then I woke up in an ambulance. Constable Duckworth was sitting beside when I came too. She was holding my hand and trying to help me understand what had just happened. I later found out that her and the other officer had just saw the ambulance go by and quickly followed to help. This was the scariest moment of my life and she helped me through it. I’ll never forget that.

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