Unexpected Cop, The

5 February 2019

The Unexpected Cop: Indian Ernie on a Life of Leadership

by Ernie Louttit

Published by University of Regina Press

Reviewed by Toby A. Welch

$21.95 ISBN 9780889775992

Some of my favourite books have been ones that taught me something. The Unexpected Cop did just that, opening my eyes on a variety of topics. While it touches on so much ground, the heart of this book is about policing, leadership, and race issues.

Even though Indian Ernie and I come from opposite backgrounds, I felt a strong kinship with the humble, gracious man. He said people inspire him every day to be a better person, something I aim for, too. His belief that optimism is powerful echoes my opinion. No matter the details of your past, you will find Indian Ernie a relatable guy, struggling with many of the same issues that the rest of us face.

As a woman, it was fascinating to read about Indian Ernie’s experiences with feminism. Despite the constant discussions around women’s rights in the media these days, I never fully grasped the conflicts that men may endure in our culture. Ernie wrote eloquently about his struggles with womanism, compounded by a childhood led by a mother who suffered for years at the hands of an abusive husband. Going through the journey with Indian Ernie as he figured out how to navigate the complex arena of gender relations was almost as informative for me as it clearly was for him.

Reading the point of view of a police officer when it comes to the use of force to subdue or arrest civilians, I have a new appreciation for what officers go through. News footage of police officers arresting and fighting is so commonplace that it is almost human nature to think that law enforcement uses excessive force. But as bystanders, we need to re-evaluate what we see. Indian Ernie says it best, “No matter how professional, no matter how much an officer’s use of force is in adherence with the law and policy, it always looks ugly.” I now have an even greater appreciation for the men and women who keep us safe.

Indian Ernie attended the Saskatchewan Police College on the University of Regina campus. He explored the city on weekends, reminding me all over again why I love our capital city so much.

This book covers so much interesting ground – Indian Ernie’s formative years as a child of divorce, his stint as an arson investigator, his years spent in the Army, and his time on the Saskatoon Police force. It also touches on topics like PTSD, racism, indigenous issues, and the opioid crisis in Canada. The Unexpected Cop contains so many interesting stories and valuable information that I will read it again and again in years to come. And I’ll be picking up copies of Indian Ernie’s first two books as his writing style is irresistible. Love you, Indian Ernie!


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