Occupation: The Tactical Funny Bone Nathaniel MacEachern
The Tactical Funny Bone
From first glance you would never guess that Sergeant Mike Belanger had a funny bone. Belanger stands tall clad in his “light” armor with the equivalent to Batman’s utility belt around his waist. Belanger is the leader of one of the three Ottawa Police Service, Tactical Units, and will have you laughing throughout.
“Who wouldn’t be interested in something like that,” Belanger says after being offered a biscotti by one of the volunteer students. He respectfully declines but has a twinkle in his eyes as they follow the disappearing tray.
Belanger conducted himself in a way that made you want to listen to what he said. Belanger opened the discussion by formally stating that the tactical team had brought some of their equipment that the students would get to pick up and explore, but he would have to share with two of his members from his unit;
“So basically I’m going to bore you for 20 minutes, then we are going to get to go look at some cool stuff.”
Belanger, as expected, takes his job very seriously and answered questions about everything and anything. He joined the police force because both his father and father-in-law were in the force but also he joined the police to help people although it’s not always easy to help people.
The amount of fitness and training that is needed for this job is extreme. According to Belanger…
“We call it fun week.” Just to get considered to be on the tactical team first an individual must have been a police officer for at least five years then you go through an intense selection process fondly referred to ‘fun week’ though others would call it ‘Hell.’
Belanger goes on to explain ‘fun week,’ how officers would go through training that tested how they would act in difficult situations; little amounts of sleep, intense physical training, and harsh environments. Belanger turns serious as he explains exactly how the week unfolds, how as many as one-hundred people can apply and only the best will get accepted, depending on how many spots are available.
The discussion turned to his personal life. Belanger shares a story about how he ran a full ironman race, keeping the students around the table in stitches. The story begins with Belanger and a partner sitting in a parking lot talking about work. The partner leans over and expresses his dislike of running a marathon. After Belanger agrees with him, the partner waits a moment and changes pace entirely.
“He looks over at me, and goes, ‘you want to do an ironman?’” The scenario surrounding his ironman race turns a serious conversation into a lighthearted event.
Belanger is the type of man who could intimidate a suspect but still keeps you smiling for a long time.