Friday, June 29th, 2007
Peel Regional Police officers Harold Crawley and John Donachie know about patrolling the streets.In Mississauga over the years, the two constables have seen brutal cases of domestic violence and horrific car crashes. However, nothing could prepare them for what they're about to see overseas.The officers, who work out of 11 and 12 Divisions in Mississauga, also serve as members of the Canadian military. Both have been with the Canadian forces for more than a dozen years. They've been granted leaves of absence and are awaiting deployment to Afghanistan with the Armed Forces.Their deployment roles haven't yet been determined."It's going to be different being away from our families and friends for so long. It's not going to be shift work like here. It's going to be a 24-hour-a-day job," said Donachie. Crawley added, "I know my job as a police officer will help me there, especially in terms of dealing with people and dealing with stress."Donachie's wife, Jessica Jones, a captain in the Canadian military, just returned from a seven-month tour in Afghanistan. She was stationed at an air field in Kandahar. Today, Peel police announced they'll be tying yellow ribbons on all marked police vehicles to show support for Canadian troops.The initiative has been met with criticism in other municipalities such as Toronto, with some complaining the ribbons symbolize a controversial military operation in Afghanistan that has no place on City or Region-owned vehicles.But Peel police Chief Mike Metcalf said the troops are fighting for their country and deserve to be hailed as heroes."Yellow ribbons represent support for the men and women of our Armed Forces, and the sacrifices they make in the service of our country, both domestically and abroad," he said.Peel Police Services Board Chair Emil Kolb agreed the ribbons "are not making any judgement about what the federal government did. We are just here to support our sons and daughters overseas."Many Peel police officers have either served or are currently serving as members of the Canadian military, Metcalf added.Canada has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, where 60 Canadian soldiers have died since 2002.
Chief Mike Metcalf and Peel Police Services Board Chair Emil Kolb will be placing the first yellow ribbons on a marked cruiser at this event.