By Sean Dewitt
With seven homicides so far this year, three in one week, there has been a nervous edge surrounding our communities both directly and indirectly affected by the tragedies. With growing support for peace in our city, we have seen a strong anti-violence rally and tremendous support from one community to the next.
But the group exposed to all the violence in the city are both the Halifax Police and Halifax District RCMP. The men and woman of the police departments have been busy with most homicides this year still unsolved to date.
So how are the police dealing with the current rash of violence? According to Deputy Chief Bill Moore, they are looking out for each other, and ensuring daily activities are not affected by the long investigations required in the unsolved cases before them.
The police have seen an increase in workload which translates to longer hours needed. This means that many of the officers involved in solving these crimes may be away from friends and family longer, and in general are facing tiring shifts. Constant communication between officers involved ensures that any signs of fatigue can be caught early and corrective measures can be put in place as needed and to ensure safety for our police.
Police involved in these violent cases also face extreme emotions. They must be able to cope professionally with the duty of informing loved ones of their loss and the reactions they will face in doing so.
They deal with anger and frustration as communities try to find a way to cope with the tragedies, and they must also deal with the emotions of their colleagues and their own emotions in dealing with violent tragedies. In doing so, the HRP keep a close eye on each other and look for signs of distress within their own so that those who need support get the support.
Deputy Chief Moore states that HRP also appreciates the continued support of all their communities. It is important to them that the communities they work in to protect understand and offer support to their police.
Police must also ensure that their day to day duties are performed professionally and accurately. Regardless of ongoing investigations, HRP continues to maintain all duties a police department is expected to perform by the citizens they work to protect. They remain mindful of the current events while performing their duties and continue to serve during these stressful times.