I now know the meaning of “peacekeeper,” and I’m not talking about some war-torn country half a world away, I am talking about an upscale neighbourhood in Ontario.
Recently, I was forced to leave my home because of a separation between myself and my ex-husband. When the day came for me to move my belongings my ex-husband saw fit to take the day off work and oversee my move. The movers came at 9:15 am and I was ready. However, my ex-husband told them that they were forbidden to remove my things from my home. I was forced to call the police.
I was nervous when I made the call. I couldn’t believe it had come to this; I’m a law-abiding citizen, I never involve the police. I called the number and a female dispatcher answered. I said simply, “My husband won’t let me move.” She calmly said, “We’ll send someone right away.” It was as if she had dealt with calls like mine many times before. I soon learned that was exactly the case; disputes occur regularly like mine and often the police must be called.
When the police arrived there were two cars and four officers, one being a rookie. I was starting to feel like maybe things would be okay. One officer, became the primary peacekeeper. He would not allow my ex-husband or me to squabble. He simply wanted us to tend to the matter at hand and get the move done.
And so bit by bit I moved my things with all four officers standing by. I felt safe there in a non-threatening environment; recognizing that things could have been much worse had I not called.
During the last part of the move I noticed that one officer had followed my ex and I inside. He was subtlety watching our every move. I got the officer some water and we chatted a little. I told him that I really appreciated him being there and he thanked me but was kind of surprised like he wasn’t accustomed to compliments on the job. I said to him, “You really are a peacekeeper aren’t you, this is what you do?” He said that was it exactly, and I paused to think about what he said.
I didn’t know that a police officer was a “peacekeeper” first and foremost. I didn’t know that a police officer’s role was to look after me and keep me safe. I didn’t know that when I felt scared or threatened that I could simply call them, and they would show up. I began to have an entirely different view of our police force.
The last few items were being removed from my home and the movers were ready to head to my new home and unpack. The officer stood up and said, “I’ll walk you out,” just like a big brother or someone who really cared. I felt safe and good about that. I felt like someone was looking out for me. I have never really felt poorly of the police but I do know that they get a lot of bad press; no one wants to hear about the good news stories; sensationalism sells. All I know is that my safety and security and my rights were looked after, and looked after well. And I wasn’t in a foreign country or a troubled land far, far away, I was in my own home and I just wanted to move my stuff. How many people do you know who have honest-to-goodness peacekeepers show up at their door and keep the peace while they attempt to get on with their lives? All I can say is thank you for being everyday heroes to me, and letting me know that someone is out there ready and willing to be my very own peacekeeper.