Alvin Cote of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, died of pneumonia on April 19th at the age of 59. He is being fondly remembered by those who knew him best: the police officers who arrested him over 1,000 times for public drunkenness.
Cote was a homeless alcoholic who could often be found sleeping on park benches and in bank lobbies around Saskatoon, and had countless run-ins with members of the city's police force, many of whom he came to befriend thanks to his affability and charm. Saskatoon police officer Kelsie Fraser Derek Chesney wrote an obituary for Cote on a police blog called Cops and Bloggers, and it will warm your cold and cynical heart.
Chesney on the day he met Cote:
I helped Alvin up and walked him down the stairs to Dennis who had pulled up in our car after circling the block. Alvin was pretty drunk that day and he kept flexing his biceps and repeatedly telling me that he was a fighter. I told him that I had heard he was a lover, not a fighter. He started to laugh and said, “Well, I’m that to you now.”
As we drove him back to the station, he started tapping on the silent patrolman (the divider between the front and rear seats) in the back of the car and held up a $5 bill. He said he was hungry and he wanted some hamburgers. We parked in the alley down 2nd Avenue and I ran into the McDonald’s and got him two double cheeseburgers which he happily ate on the rest of the way into detention.
Funny enough, Alvin was brought in a few days later and Dennis just happened to be in detention when Alvin started to yell at him again. This time he called him a “fat guy.” We never could figure out why Alvin had such a dislike of Dennis.
Chesney also talked to the Toronto Star about his friendship with Cote:
Chesney says he and many other officers looked out for Cote. They checked on him at night and made sure he had enough to eat. Sometimes, when Cote was hanging out on his usual bench in the public lobby of the police station, officers changing shifts would hand him their lunches as they walked by.
One time, when Cote was in detention on his birthday, staff rummaged up a cupcake and stuck a candle on top. “They actually had everybody on key and everybody else in cells sang Happy Birthday. He blew the candle out through the bars.”
Man, cops in Canada sound pretty awesome.
Photo via Facebook/Canadian Press
h/t Sam Eifling