Maybe later more of his handiwork will arise when he is gone.MJM
Politics unlikely fit for Faulkner
Last Updated: 5th February 2010, 5:01pm
With the retirement of 57-year- old London police Chief Murray Faulkner set to take effect this summer, glowing tributes to his character and record are pouring forth from many quarters.
A grad of Sir Wilfrid Laurier secondary school and Fanshawe College, Faulkner is well liked by his colleagues in the London Police Service where he was first appointed as a constable in 1975, rising to the post of deputy chief in 2000 and filling the top spot four years later.
Fellow officers always like it when one of their own heads up the service and this was doubly true when Faulkner was appointed as he followed in the wake of the dispiriting Al Gramolini debacle when an 'imported' chief was caught fiddling his expense reports and was forced to step down.
Faulkner has been a tireless ambassador to the larger community, serving on many charitable and philanthropic boards and councils and chairing the 2007 United Way campaign for London and Middlesex County. So extensive are his community commitments that it is estimated he presides at a mind-boggling 300 functions a year. This makes it more than understandable that his only stated plans for his retirement are to decompress and spend more time with his family and friends.
Faulkner is still young enough and his community standing is prominent enough that it is felt he would be a shoo-in for some sort of political office should he wish to stand as a candidate. He has not yet indicated any particular interest that way but overtures are being made to him, and he hasn't rejected the prospect out of hand.
While it might seem a natural enough progression for him to move into the political arena, such a repositioning would call on a markedly different skill set than that which he currently employs. In many ways, it would represent an inversion of the London police motto which he has sought to fulfil for the last 35 years. He would shift from a life of "Deeds not words" to one of "Words not deeds". Words are a politician's currency and tools and as a politician, Faulkner would have to exercise a level of nuance and care with his every utterance unlike anything he's ever had to concern himself with as a cop.
An example of the kind of thing I mean can be found in his address to the crowd attending the October 2006 launch of a special police task force aimed at "combatting woman abuse." At that event, Faulkner flatly identified domestic violence solely as a "gender problem," saying, "Men, and what it is to be a man in our society, (are) the problem."
This was strongly, even recklessly worded, and eight months later Faulkner's simplistic, one-sided reading of such a complicated, and fully human (i.e., pertaining to both men and women) problem, blew up in his face when London police service Insp. Kelly Johnson shot and killed retired London police superintendent David Lucio (then killed herself) the day after Lucio called off their three-year love affair to return to his wife and family.
As Ontario's Domestic Violence Death Review Committee defines domestic violence as a homicide by a partner or ex-partner, Johnson's despicable act clearly fits the bill. However unusual or flukish that situation may have been, the rage of Kelly Johnson showed that the roots of domestic violence are not solely grounded in the issue of "men, and what it is to be a man in our society."
Did Faulkner learn from this tragic act perpetrated by one of his officers, and take that opportunity to expand his understanding of domestic violence? He did not. The investigators' report on the murder-suicide which Faulkner called for, while brief, listed all kinds of extenuating circumstances that aggravated Johnson's hold on reality.
"Emotional disturbances," were cited, as well as, "historical stressors," the 2005 deaths of her mother as well as "her pet of 15 years." Such stuff would never have been considered if it had been a man who'd been pulling the trigger. More incredible still, in the release of 2007's police statistics on domestic violence (DV) perpetrated that year, only one homicide of a woman by a man was listed for the entire year. The Johnson/Lucio murder-suicide didn't make the cut.
Herman Goodden is a London freelance writer. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org