I've spoken to a lot of police officers over the past two weeks, and lucky for me, none of those conversations were anything more than friendly banter. As you'd imagine, the XXI Winter Olympics is an event with security as beefed up as possible, so much so that Canada has over 5,000 extra police officers patrolling the venues through the end of the Games.
Where did they all come from? Quebec City, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ste. Sault Marie, Calgary, Windsor and Toronto to name a few. Police districts across Canada extended open applications to their respective forces, and based on seniority and track record, the 5,000 officers were brought to British Columbia.
When one Quebecois officer was asked if he was too cold at his post near the Olympic flame next to the windy Burrard Inlet, he replied "In my city, it's twenty-five below. I'm happy to be here."
Most of the officers echoed that sentiment, some to get into warmer climates than those of Edmonton, others simply to be a part of the Games. "I stand in the arena and get to watch hockey," one of Calgary's finest mentioned.
That's not all they do, though. I've personally witnessed some altercations inside Canada Hockey Place, usually the same circumstances: someone had fraudulent tickets or had managed to enter the building without a ticket at all. And, of course, there's the issues of the drunken fans, too. Otherwise, it's been mostly tame in the downtown area. Even the after-hours parties, though loud and crazy, aren't violent. (That may change Sunday night.)
All 5,000 of the imports are staying on two ships located in Ballantine Bay.
"We don't do much other that sit around and trade stories," one officer told me. I find it hard to believe they aren't having their own little party on the ships, but whatever. MTV, there's your freebie sequel to Jersey Shore: Canadian Cops on Boats.Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org