SaultOnline/ONNtv received the following letter to the editor from Claudio Sacco, a former peace officer, with regards to the recent shooting of a Sault Police Officer in the line of duty:
By Claudio Sacco
“I was fortunate to coach minor hockey locally for over 20 years.
By far, the most skilled player I ever coached was Ryan Vendramin.
However for me, entirely more impressive than his athletic skills was how he grew into such a personable, kind, and respectful young man who just wanted to do the right thing.
Ryan is lying in a hospital bed, because along with his fellow officers, he voluntarily put himself in a position to protect this community against unchecked evil.
What has happened to this city of 75,000 over the last number of years is beyond belief.
For some time, many have reached out to express fear and apprehension, while afraid to publicly voice concerns about what they are seeing, or know, because of fear of retribution.
I have no problem speaking on their behalf and addressing the elephant in the room.
As a former police officer, it is difficult for me to acknowledge, and I’m sure equally hard for respected police leaders to hear, but the truth is that the current generation of local criminal/drug dealer, has absolutely no fear of law enforcement or the justice system.
It is offensive to me that law-abiding citizens should have to live with fear and anxiety, either for the safety of their loved ones, themselves, and/or their property, while the predatory individuals whose actions are the cause of this chaos literally feel no need, nor any pressure to desist.
Like everybody else, I’ve watched as an epidemic of illicit drugs, and the resulting by-product of related crimes and social problems has overwhelmed this city.
The majority of residents know someone who’s been affected in some way.
Among the many people that I know who have died because of drugs, four outstanding young people I knew personally.
They never got the chance to find their own niche in life, their families were forever changed, and society is poorer for it.
In the simplest terms, drug trafficking is illegal, and the people dying regularly in this city, both young and old, from every socio-economic class, are provided these substances by people who traffic for their own benefit. Period.
I truly believe that if the same number of local drug related deaths or injury, involved people being killed or injured by any other identified crime, such as impaired driving for example, the government and subsequent law enforcement responses would be wholly different in terms of aggressiveness, and this disparateness is clearly wrong.
Sociological, economic and judicial arguments can be made in support of many theories that identify causes of drug proliferation, and ways to address it, but I respectfully submit that at this moment, in these particular circumstances, it is not the time for a debating exercise.
At this particular point in time, what’s needed is to take back the streets.
The longer this assault on the community continues, the more death, destruction and misery can be expected, along with even more danger for all brave first responders who bring it, and live it, every single day.
This problem is not going away, and it will never fix itself.
It’s scary to think that there is a possibility that even with an increase in targeted enforcement and increased social interventions, the situation may not get better, but an even scarier thought is that by maintaining the status quo the situation will assuredly get exponentially worse.
Citizens should, and truly do, applaud police efforts and are appreciative when successful direct actions are taken, of which there have been many.
I know first hand that the SSMPS has excellent officers who are very capable of implementing any enforcement strategy.
What’s not clear is whether the strategy and resources they are able to use is commensurate to the magnitude of the crime problem facing this community.
It would be tragic if this were the best we can do, as individuals, as city leaders, as a police service and as a community at large.
If this were to be our legacy, we would certainly be hard pressed to say that we left things better.
Get well Ryan, thank you for your service my friend, and respect and positive thoughts to those continuing the fight on a daily basis, this community needs you.”