Blue Line


May 13, 2016  By Dorothy Cotton

768 words – MR

We are looking for a kidney. Let us tell you why.

If you had to choose one word to best describe what new officers expect when they enter policing, it may well be “unpredictability.” This is both a drawing card and source of anxiety. There are endless opportunities, both within a given day and through a career, but sometimes unpredictability is associated with danger or risk.

While policing does not actually rate among Canada’s 10 most dangerous occupations, it comes with a steady dose of uncertainty and unpredictability. An officer never knows which call or event might lead to a negative outcome.


The life career of one senior officer, retired chief Terry Coleman, shows how both the advantages and disadvantages of unpredictability play out.

Coleman was featured as the cover story for in 2003. Then chief of the Moose Jaw Police Service, he led its transformation after a few years of what was described at the time as stagnation and demoralization. The article recognized his significant leadership and considerable influence in turning around a struggling organization.

Terry began his policing career in Calgary, where he served for 27 years. Achieving the rank of inspector, he served in a wide variety of roles and initiated and developed a variety of programs, including the first Canadian Crime Stoppers. He was one of the original investigators in the country’s first dedicated sex crime, led the internal affairs and citizens complaint units and was the human resources director for the 1997 World Police and Fire Games.

Calgary led to Moose Jaw and, after ten years as chief, to a deputy minister position within the Saskatchewan government. Along the way, Terry acquired an academic bent, completing two masters degrees and the first ever doctoral in police studies from the University of Regina. He continues to be associated with a variety of academic facilities – Dalhousie, Athabasca and the University of Regina – and particularly enjoys working with more junior officers who aspire to leadership roles. His commitment to contemporary policing is ongoing.

Terry has also been involved in police leadership organizations, including the SACP and CACP. In conjunction with the latter he developed a still-ongoing relationship with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where he has become a well-known consultant and advocate for improving relations between police and people with mental illnesses.

Not exactly the career you would have predicted for a kid who left school after his A levels in England and took a job as a bank teller.

There are other aspects of unpredictability – like the unpredictability of danger. By most standards, Terry has survived his 40 plus years in policing relatively unscathed – no major injuries (“the usual,” he says) and had never even been in hospital, so it seems the height of irony that Terry might end up being done in by his own kidneys.

About 18 months ago, a routine physical revealed that his kidneys were inexplicably failing. The reason? Unknown. The likely outcome? Not good. The solution? A kidney transplant.

What are your kidneys doing today? Have you ever thought of being a donor? We each have a spare – and here is someone who could surely use one. Police are noted for their concern for the welfare of others, and for looking out for their own. We here at can’t help but think that somewhere in our readership, there is a person willing to step forward and consider being a donor.

• Yes, you can continue as a police officer with only one kidney.

• No, it is generally not as major a surgical process as it used to be. In fact, it is often done laparoscopically (AKA minimally invasive or keyhole surgery) these days.

• No, you don’t have to be a relative, and matching is not as complicated as it used to be, given improvements in anti-rejection drugs.

• Yes, you do have to be reasonably healthy but no, you don’t need to be perfect.

Terry has given more than his fair share to policing. How about one of us giving back? The kidney Foundation says it is a very positive psychological experience for donors, knowing they have helped someone in need.


Visit for more information. If you think you might like to help out Terry in particular, email, a special address we have set up just for him.

We promise a very quick response. is always looking for that next big story – and this is as big as they come.

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