No time for boasting

In the days just before Christmas, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair made headlines (Blair boasts victory over city gun crime - National Post, Dec. 21, 2006) by claiming that his force had achieved a victory in the battle against gun crime. Blair cited rapid response unit tactics as the primary reason that unrelated homicides were down nearly half from the record setting year, 2005. He also brought with him stats that showed the number of shooting occurrences were down from 237 to 198 and the total number of shooting victims were also down from 321 to 276.He boasted that the Toronto successes were being studied by other police forces seeking to achieve similar results. Unfortunately, less than 48 hours later, headlines screamed (Guns blaze across city ) that Blair may have been a little premature in his pronouncements. A day before Christmas, in a 24 hour period, one man was shot dead in a dispute and six others were wounded, including two innocent passers-by, in separate incidents.To be sure, Toronto has improved in 2006 over the previous year that culminated with the Boxing Day gun battle in a downtown mall that resulted in the death of 15 year old Jane Creba.But realistically, the numbers have declined this year to more traditional levels and seem to show that while in 2005 there was certainly a spike in handgun violence, the problem is far from being solved. I take no issue with a Chief wishing to do a little personal horn-blowing...

Jack be nimble

I'm left even more puzzled by the explanation provided by Calgary Police Chief Jack Beaton for his trip last week to the People's Republic of China.Beaton told Calgary listeners of QR77 that he was amazed that members of the National Police didn't speak English. He said that going over, he expected about half the force would speak English. No, really, he actually said that.So, what other reason could there be for saying something that blindingly naive?He says he was over there on behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Okay. Who paid? The Chiefs or the taxpayers of Calgary?The trip was, ostensibly, having to do with "community policing" and Beaton was going to do some recruiting and "spreading the message" while in the most populous communist country on Earth.Community policing huh? That to me sounds as dubious as recruiting for a Canadian Police Service in a corrupt, communist country with a largely peasant population that is for the most part, uneducated and monolinguistic.In China, the National Police are the enforcement arm of a totalitarian state whose citizens are not allowed to exercise any of the basic freedoms we cherish in Canada.Community policing? Give me a break.So, what is this really all about? I don't know, but it smells a whole lot like a poorly thought-out justification for a public servant globe-trotting on a meaningless junket.Leo [email protected]

The Lunatic fringe

While I would never credit the Anti Poverty Committee with any significant ability to engage in any level of critical thinking, they seem do have outdone themselves today for blatent stupidity. While reading my morning Province newspaper, I came across a newsbrief stating the anti poverty group had planned a march on the downtown office of Vancouver MLA Lorne Mayencourt. According to their website, they are intent on presenting Mayencourt with their "People's Budget." They are demanding that the BC Liberals spend the budget surplus on housing the homeless and raising welfare rates. They are, apparently, planning on "direct action" if Mayencourt doesn't speak to them. They also said the expect the police to respond in a "violent manner." Given their performance last week in the three hundred block of East Hastings, it would be more accurate to say they will do everything they can to force the police to engage them physically. Well, I guess they will get what they want then. Mayencourt will, unfortunately, be unable to meet with them when they show up on his doorstep. He is on holiday in Mexico. Idiots.Leo [email protected]

Judicial musings right on point

The comments of Calgary Police Constable Shaun Horne have stimulated a lively debate over the problems with the justice system in this country. Horne said the system is a "mockery" and a "joke" and got slapped by the weak-kneed management of his department for his trouble when he was suspended a week without pay. Lost in the discussion this week were the comments by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Pat Sullivan when sentencing Barrett Darr, 22, for cold-bloodedly leaving his 17 year-old girlfriend to die in a ditch after he rolled a stolen SUV. When sentencing him to 33 months in prison, Mr. Justice Sullivan said something that speaks to exactly what it was that caused the frustration in Cst. Horne to boil over. In referring to the easy ride Darr had been given in his many previous trips through the revolving door of justice, Sullivan said, "Maybe if we hadn’t been so soft in the beginning, maybe if the judiciary had tightened the harness earlier on, perhaps we wouldn’t be here today."Almost a throw-away line really in the sentencing hearing, but oh, so terribly telling. The justice system has been getting softer and softer to the point where it is very hard to do something egregious enough to actually go to jail. Conditional sentences have become all too common in our criminal courts with the advocation of house arrest seen by the chattering classes as a suitable replacement for jail. Mr. Justice Sullivan got it exactly...

Cop gets benched for telling the truth

There was a certain inevitability to Calgary Police Service Constable Shaun Horne getting suspended by the department for his outspoken comments after a Justice of the Peace released a career criminal without so much as a "By your leave" to the officer.Horne called the decision by JP Kristine Robideaux a mockery and a joke, which of course it was. After all, the man in the dock had already amassed 65 criminal convictions plus a great many other arrests in cases that he wasn't charged and convicted given the vagaries of a fundamentally broken system.I should add by the way, that after Robideaux released the man over the objections of Cst. Horne, he didn't abide by his conditions and failed to show for his next court appearance. Yeah, I know, big shock huh?Well possibly Robideaux was shocked. But, I suspect no one else connected to the justice system was. Robideaux, as an aside, is a lawyer by profession and also doubles as a board member for the Legal Aid Society. Legal Aid Societies across Canada have been plagued by incredible inefficiencies as they struggle to meet their objectives while being abused by lawyers representing major organized crime figures in complex conspiracy cases. (See Legal Aid System is flawed for more on the subject)Now there's no question that Cst. Horne should not have said publicly what he did. Certainly not in the manner that he did at any rate. That was unprofessional. But the message it sent was bona fide and...

Liberal MP un-spun

A regular reader copied me on a letter sent to Liberal MP Raymond Chan after reading his criticism of Stephen Harper’s government. Here it is, unadulterated, untainted and best of all, uninhibited. Enjoy.Leo [email protected]“MEAN SPIRITED CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT SLASHES $1 BILLION FROM SOCIAL PROGRAMS”YES!!!! Finally a government that ‘get’s it’. You use the word ‘wasteful’ in your narrative and that’s exactly what most of these programs have been (other than for the purpose of employing friends and advancing the cause of the Liberal Party)$5 million cut to the Status of Women Canada – Good beginning.$10 million cut to the Canadian Volunteerism Initiative – ‘Volunteerism’ means exactly that. Not government pork-barreling$18 million cut to the Literacy Skills Program – I thought we already funded schools?Canadian Court Challenges Program – Completely cut – Best decision of all“Beefed up Military presence on the West Coast” – I know that after decades of ruining this country’s once-proud military, this drives you libs mental (I remember your pathetic ad “Troops, on our streets” that probably cost you the last election). Put the combat aspect aside for a moment and just consider what would happen if a natural disaster such as the long-overdue earthquake were to hit the Lower Mainland? Our nearest help (other than Reserve Units) used to be at Chilliwack which was bad enough. Now, thanks to you lot, it’s in Edmonton and would have to come out here by road (if aircraft couldn’t land). ...

A press release worth reading

Daily I see press releases from various RCMP and municipal agencies. Most are routine and frankly, dull. But every now and then one comes across something, a story of the human condition that is wonderful. Such is the case with this little missive from of all things a traffic cop, an occupation not ususally blessed with a sense of humour. I was once asked by a Sgt. if I would take a transfer into traffic. I politely declined telling him I simply couldn't because my parents were married. But, Cst. Chris Noble of Ponoka traffic Section in middle Alberta seems to be a rarity. Allow me to share with you, intact, his press release of earlier this week. No further comment required. Leo [email protected] ***********************On November 24 , 2006 at 1715 hrs Ponoka traffic Services received a complaint of an erratic driver South bound on the QE II near Ponoka. The complainant stated the brown Oldsmobile cutlass he was following was weaving all over the road, tailgating, and cutting other motorists off. The complainant supplied a license plate number and a subsequent police records check revealed that the registered owner of the vehicle was wanted by Sylvan Lake RCMP for failing to pay a $2875 fine for not having insurance on his vehicle.Since the vehicle was not speeding the police asked the complainant if he could remain in visual contact of the vehicle and provide police with a play by play of its location. The complainant was happy to...

Good press for a good cop

It's nice to see VPD Sgt. Keiron McConnell making headlines (Club face-offs cut gun crime - Vancouver Province Nov. 26, 2006) for all the good work he does, instead of the tempest in a media tea cup created by some disgruntled, dickless wonder whingeing about McConnell holding some piece of human excrement's head up for a photo.McConnell is a good cop and a man's man. In some ways the last of a dying breed. When you see the politically correct in Edmonton creating a talking shop to examine police ethics (Police to tackle ethical practices - Edmonton Journal Nov. 26, 2006) at a time when gun violence has reached unprecedented levels and that city has become the murder capital of Canada, it clearly demonstrates what policing has become.These days young Mounties, for example, are taught in recruit training that they can "opt out" if they believe a call is too dangerous. Seriously.But opting out is not in the lexicon for cops like McConnell. Too bad there weren't more like him and fewer happy to sit around talking needlessly about ethics.Leo [email protected]

Tax man finally shows up in OC battle

The extraordinary announcement of the successful conclusion of Operation Colisee by police in Quebec and Ontario is stunning. Not just because they took down members and associates of the Rizzuto crime family, including patriarch Nicolo “Nick” Rizzuto. Nor is it stunning that they have arrested 73 of them with warrants fro 17 more. But, largely because this project was done with the full involvement of Revenue Canada investigators and they are actually going to seize assets of the mobsters.For years the police have been trying to get CCRA to take an interest in organized crime files to little or no avail. Especially when it came to taking on the Hells Angels, the tax guys were conspicuous by their absence. Too scared was what the cops were saying. Using income tax law to go after organized crime is a tried and true method, dating back to the days of Al Capone. Not so in Canada, at least until this week anyway.Organized crime may use legitimate fronts for their various endeavours, but make no mistake about it, the vast majority of their money is dirty and untaxed. It’s about bloody time CCRA got engaged in a game they have for too long ignored.Leo [email protected]

Wrong target in Media sights

So yet another firestorm has developed with the ravenous media knee-jerking their way into condeming the Vancouver Police Department based on nothing more than an anonymous email tipster to BCTV on Global. (Click on Internal Investigation to see the video story)Is there a photograph of five members of VPD posing with a suspect in the jail. Apparently, according to Insp. Rollie Woods in a press conference called late Tuesday afternoon. And?The officers involved were members of a downtown patrol squad and at least one a Sgt. in the Firearms Interdiction Team. By definition they have a difficult and dangerous job. In practice they go after guns and the bad guys who carry them. When they make a good arrest, they celebrate their efforts. And?So they took a souvenir photo. And?The suspect in the photo, as with anyone ever seen with a coat or newspaper they try and hide behind doing the perp walk, isn't too pleased with his situation. Gee, I wonder why? In this case, a 40 year old man and a career criminal with 69 criminal convictions was caught by the police and now stands charged with multiple offences including carrying a concealed weapon.By the way, that is 69 convictions, not 69 arrests. The number of arrests is much higher.Despite the 69 convictions and the many more arrests and spending a life that takes from society not contributes to it, the suspect is afforded something the police are not - the presumption of innocence.Was the suspect...