Sgt. Jason Bayda of the with Pastor Phil of the Osoyoos Baptist Church. Bayda published a public letter July 8, 2020 that details the toll that recent police scrutiny has had on RCMP officers. (RCMP photo)

Sgt. Jason Bayda of the with Pastor Phil of the Osoyoos Baptist Church. Bayda published a public letter July 8, 2020 that details the toll that recent police scrutiny has had on RCMP officers. (RCMP photo)

South Okanagan RCMP member speaks out against criticism

Police have been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks

Amid intense scrutiny and multiple allegations of misconduct directed at police, a South Okanagan RCMP member has penned a public letter explaining the toll the criticism is having on him and his fellow officers and their families.

READ MORE: UBCO student sues Kelowna RCMP officer for alleged assault during wellness check

Sgt. Jason Bayda, the media relations officer for the South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Detachment, published the following letter on the Osoyoos RCMP’s website Wednesday, July 8.

“This morning I had a great visit with Pastor Phil of the Osoyoos Baptist Church. It was a visit like no other and certainly an uplifting one. Before I get into that, please let me touch on how some of the recent media coverage has affected us.

With all of the negativity portrayed in the media towards police these days, what used to be a highly rewarding profession, for some has become difficult. Police officers are human, we make mistakes. We recognize we are not perfect even when we strive for perfection. We work for you, the public, and we do our very best to keep you safe. We do this always, even during COVID-19. We do this because we care. We care about our communities. We care about you. All of you.

Lately though we have all been painted with the same brush and criticized for the actions of a very small few. This can have a demoralizing effect. Yes, even on us, the police. Remember what I said earlier? We are human too. But it doesn’t only affect us, it also affects our loved ones. Our spouses and children see us out the door before every shift knowing there is a reality that we may not come home. When they hear or read negative comments about the police, it hurts them too. And that’s not fair to them. Yet they stand beside us because they know who we really are. They know we are not what the media is trying to portray us to be. We are not villains. We respond to calls during the pandemic, most often without the ability to remain 6 feet from some of those we are assisting.

We don’t know if we are leaving a scene infected and taking it back to the detachment, putting our coworkers at risk or taking it home and putting our families at risk. We are the ones that attend scenes and have to see things no one should ever have to witness. We are often the first to tell a parent their child has tragically passed. We deal with people who would much rather see us not return home to our families. It’s a stressful job yet through it all we will not stop serving and protecting. That is what we signed up to do and we will not leave you without help regardless of the negative press aimed at us.

Now to get back to my visit with Pastor Phil.

Pastor Phil attended to the Osoyoos RCMP Detachment to deliver a card that on the front read, “Osoyoos RCMP Detachment, We Appreciate You!” Pastor Phil told me that they recognize through all of this, the police deal with the most vulnerable people in our society and without the police he didn’t know how society would manage. I opened the card and it was full of thank yous from numerous people of our community. I can’t begin to tell you how uplifting it was to read all of those comments. It re-energized me as I know it will also do for my officers and office staff. It reminded me that although there is a wave of negativity toward police in the world today, the support much outweighs the negativity.

I will leave you with a belief I have held onto throughout my almost 20 year career in policing. This isn’t something new but maybe it needs to be said. It is the job of police to serve and protect; not to judge. If you have been arrested because you are alleged to have committed a crime, please know we do not judge you. And later, when you are in need, we will be there to assist you. Because just like us, you are only human too.

I want to thank Pastor Phil and the Osoyoos Baptist Church for all the kind words and support. In times like these when we hear mostly negative comments, please know you have truly lifted our spirits at the Osoyoos RCMP Detachment! We feel blessed to work and live in Osoyoos.”

READ MORE: Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

READ MORE: Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

PoliceRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman is hoping that her dog Ginger ran away from the fire that erupted in her Osoyoos home Saturday night. The home caught fire twice in two days and is totally destroyed. (Contributed)
Dog missing after saving woman from huge house fire in Osoyoos

The woman escaped the burning home, but she hopes her dog Ginger ran away to safety

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

(Pixabay photo)
NHL bracket challenge supporting Indigenous awards at Okanagan College

One or more Indigenous students experiencing financial barriers will be able to receive an award

Cpl. Laurie Rock of the Penticton RCMP with other participants at the SOWINS Walk to End Abuse at the 2019 Walk where $50,000 was raised. (Mark Brett - Western News file photo)
Walk with your bubble June 13 to stop violence against women in Penticton

SOWINS says the pandemic has amplified the risk of abuse to women and children

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)
600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Notes of hope, encouragement and camaraderie were left on the message board inside the kitchen of TacoTime. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Adiós, Taco Tuesday: Kelowna residents flock to TacoTime on restaurant’s final day

‘We don’t need another Starbucks. We need tacos on Tuesday, with extra hot sauce’

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Most Read