Letter to the Editor: Former police officer’s thoughts after officer shot

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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.”

Claudio Sacco

19 COMMENTS

  1. i am the father of your so called unchecked evil dont you think the problem stems from your targeted enforcment of the police officers in this city my son asked for help to which none was provided he cared for his family the police force in this city need to look at natives the same way as non natives do natives have the services and help as non natives do natives look at police for help or in fear some officers attack natives in body spirit and mind with no reprocussions the officer gets paid to do this does anyone care that natives have 10 to 15 percent population on the streets but over 75 per cent population in jails a cop will let non natives go with warning but the same cop will throw every charge possible against natives as a native i see the discrimination all around this city my eagle warrior son died doing what he believed he fought back he died my hero he was my son how long did he lie on the ground shot up before a cop walked up to him to check vitals that is the way this police force operates

  2. Very articulate and honest reflection of what Sault Ste. Marie and other cities have become. Thank you Claudio for words of wisdom. You speak for all citizens who are concerned about the degenerating situation in our city.

  3. However it is not only the liberal party that must change its stance on crime. All parties must accept that if you don’t punish those that break the law the pattern will continue. Everytime there is a name in the police beat , it seems it is never a first time offender. If we are interested in rehabilitation i say it comes after the punishment or during the jail time , not instead of it. Mr Sacco is correct in stating that the only people who are afraid of the police are those that do not break the law. Criminals do not contribute to society , they cost everyone money. Raise your voices and lobby the government to change C-75 before you start to see some real vigilante justice happening in this town because working people are tired of the inmates running the asylum.

  4. Claudio Sacco, I applaud and thank you for your service also and also your courage to speak up about what is happening in our once beautiful and safe city. Now, we as citizens, must literally force our politicians,(City Hall), to spend more money to hire more police. Year after year they always cut back on the Police Service’s quote on what will be needed for the following year but this year they had better heed the words that you have spoken and the continual rise in the crime rate. They must also lobby the government to get rid of the Catch and Release law. Ryan, I have a catchers mitt for you for when you are better.

  5. perhaps the problem is that we view the drug epidemic as a policing matter when it is not. as long as their are addicts there will be drug dealers to supply them. lock one up and another steps up. in order to deal with this epidemic we need to deal with the addictions and the underlying mental health issues and trauma.

  6. Government is the predatory entity. The government has removed all will to self-defense, will to make a change, will to protect. The government has made you all weak, and those who the Government attacks most are the ones who become “criminals”. If opportunity and freedom truly existed, crime would be the last thing people think of. Stop believing in Government and blaming kids who grew up in this broken system. You’re all too coddled.

  7. Claudio Sacco — Well said, our judicial system is not working, politicians must get tough on crime, not only to protect citizens, but front line officers.

  8. Saying you won’t debate other points of view closes your mind to the idea that if doing more of the same thing isn’t working, perhaps there is another way of thinking about the problem. Our best officers (and we have some amazing officers, some of whom I’m proud to be good friends with) are those who seek to connect with individuals in a compassionate way. Are we more likely to change our ways if we are forced and controlled, or if our basic needs (safety, belonging, respect) are better met? Who doesn’t want to live in a kinder, more compassionate community that takes care of one another?

  9. Mr. Sacco, i thank you for addressing the problem that most people see but putting it more eloquently than i could have ! There is a serious crisis here that needs to be dealt with NOW. What do the law abiding citizens do when they are living in fear…CRACKHEADS KNOCKING ON THEIR DOORS, THEIR TOOLS FOR THEIR JOBS ARE STOLEN, NEEDLES LEFT IN YARDS AND AT THE PARKS. Here is addressing the elephant in the room Why does not someone from the Police Department address what they can and cannot do .Faith needs to be restored. The pendulum has swung where the law breakers ,drug dealers scum that happen to be our neighbours think they can run this city. So far it is working. WE AS A SOCIETY NEED TO FIGHT BACK.

  10. “…has absolutely no fear of law enforcement or the justice system”

    I think that is because we don’t have a justice system, we have a LEGAL system.

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