(Published in 24 Hours Mar. 26, 2013)

Cops protecting cops a matter of fiction


   By Leo Knight




On a recent flight to Toronto I happened to be sitting with Tom Stamatakis, president of the Vancouver Police Union, as well the current head of the Canadian Police Association.

We discussed B.C.’s new Independent Investigations Office and its effectiveness since being implemented in 2012. He said the agency is still too new to evaluate how well it’s working.

An interesting point he did make, however, was how Richard Rosenthal, the IIO’s chief civilian director, will react to the inevitable questions about why they aren’t submitting more Crown reports against officers in police incidents that result in serious harm or death.

According to Stamatakis, statistics have historically shown 96% of such incidents investigated found that police acted properly. Of the remaining 4%, he said, most showed police acted in good faith, but made an error of some sort. And out of that 4%, just 1% involved some sort of deliberate misconduct or malfeasance, said Stamatakis. That number is minuscule.

So with this in mind, Rosenthal's group is not likely to find fault in many bad cops.

Now having said that, how much is this exercise in naval-gazing and self-indulgence costing taxpayers?

It doesn't play well in non-police circles, or with the chattering class and the hand-wringers, but the truth is internal investigation sections — renamed in recent years as “professional standards sections” — don't go out of their way to protect cops. The idea is a matter of fiction for the activist civil libertarians — but has somehow been adopted as reality by most in the mainstream media.

But it just isn't true.

Cops, by their very nature, are about doing the right thing. Those who serve in internal investigations squads are most concerned that cops are held to a higher standard. The reality is that far from covering things up, internal investigators go to the nth degree in their duties to ensure the officer they are investigating did the right thing.

Nobody holds cops to a higher standard than other cops. The cop haters and the civil libertarians will disagree but frankly, they don't know what they are talking about. The progressives have knee-jerked the country into providing these so-called “civilian oversight” organizations to investigate the police when they are involved in serious incidents that involve injury, death or egregious misconduct.

The reality is that they are an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money, enacted as a politically correct appeasement to an uneducated public led by an idyllic media.

Harsh words? Perhaps, but they are true nonetheless.

How much of a waste? According to Stamatakis, millions of dollars in the last year alone.

Imagine what could have been accomplished with that money.


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