Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Aug 10, 2016)

If it looks like a duck


By Bob Cooper



Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau is denying that a Somali applicant with red flags in his background was hired for 'political reasons' following a highly publicized incident in which another Somali man died while being arrested.  This came in the wake of the resignation of the investigator who looked into the applicant's background and pronounced him "unsuitable" and made it very clear that the issues in his background put him well beyond 'borderline'.   Police chief defends hiring 

Bordeleau said Tuesday he was "extremely concerned and disappointed" that information about the new officer's background check had been leaked to the media.  I suspect the word "embarrassed" could have been tossed in there without too much argument.  After defending his hiring decision, Bordeleau doubled-down and launched a witch hunt to find the whistleblower. 

Sorry Chief, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck……  The driving record alone of this applicant would result in immediate disqualification by any other police department with good reason.   Emergency driving is a necessary but extremely hazardous activity that presents a danger to the officers doing the driving as well as the general public.  The liability to an agency that hires someone with 16 convictions and 4 separate suspensions of his driver’s license can't be overstated.  It also indicates immaturity, very poor judgement and decision making as well as a total disregard for the laws he will take an oath to enforce. 

Worse yet, is his attempt to obtain a driver’s license while under suspension and the issue that arose from his claim that he was offered a position by the Somali government.  Both belie a propensity for deceptive behavior and a lack of integrity which is also universally fatal to any police applicant in any other situation.  Again, for obvious reasons 

An interesting point here is that all of this negative background information was surfaced by conventional lines of investigation.  In contrast to most other North American police department the Ottawa Police Service’s selection process doesn’t include a polygraph test which is designed to confirm the truth of all information supplied by the applicant as well as to uncover things like undisclosed drug use or any undiscovered criminal activity in his background.  The general public would be shocked to learn how many otherwise stellar applicants have been undone by the polygraph and this guy sounds anything but ‘stellar’. 

Race-based recruiting has long been pushed by liberal activists as the answer to ‘community engagement’ because the community will trust officers ‘who look like them’.  Firstly, a group of cops, white or otherwise, assigned to a specific community that are committed to the task can do very well but it takes time and there is simply no quick fix.   Secondly, any cop who has worked in an immigrant community will tell you that the mistrust stems mainly from their experience with the police in their source countries.  The cops ‘who look like them’ also look like the corrupt, oppressive cops back home.  I’m not suggesting by any means that departments shouldn’t recruit in all communities but make very sure of what you’re getting because one bad experience will destroy what little trust existed in the first place.   

History is replete with lessons that current Chiefs keep ignoring at their peril.  One that comes to mind is the Miami Cops Scandal.  In the 1980s Miami, and particularly its Cuban community was awash in cocaine and all of the murder, mayhem, and corruption that goes with it when along came the ever-helpful U.S. Justice Department.  The DOJ decreed that unless minority recruiting was stepped up significantly, the Miami Police would lose their federal funding which many agencies in cash-strapped cities had become dependent upon.  To say that standards were 'relaxed' is a bit of understatement and before long bands of rogue cops were engaged in all manner of criminal activity including robbing and murdering drug dealers, mostly other Cubans.  Keep in mind that the DOJ's initial goal was to have a police force that 'reflected' the city of Miami.  And that's exactly what they got.

Investigator Benson is to be commended for staying true to her oath.  As a very astute colleague of ours observed yesterday, the sad thing is that the one person who has shown integrity is no longer working there while a person with some severe deficits in that area has been hired. 

Dr. Martin Luther King once said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.  Looks like color is still trumping character. 

Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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