Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Chief Has Issues Too

At least this time around the Windsor Police Chief is being somewhat ambiguous and more diplomatic about whom he is talking unlike his unfortunate remarks previously where he seemed to be taking sides. Someone has taught him how to speak in public:
  • "Meanwhile Windsor police Chief Gary Smith said police will keep a close eye on what’s happening on picket lines as frustration mounts.

    “I would expect . . . frustrations will start to show,” said Smith.

    “I have to reemphasize that I hope in the matter of being frustrated they don’t make silly mistakes that pushes things into the criminal element where we have to lay charges or make arrests. That changes the whole tone of it. A criminal conviction in a border city with the hardening of the borders could make it very difficult for somebody.”

I wonder if it is the same "they" as the "they" from Dief the Chief?

Did you like how the Windsor Chief of Police stepped in before and put pressure on strikers just before the parties got back to the bargaining table?

Mind you, he had been busy trying to investigate what his Department does respecting getting "quality" jurors for criminal trials:
  • "The police chief says he knows the jury check officers ran before the trial was not an isolated case. "The answer is it is being done," he said. "The frequency, we don't know yet."
Nice Star headline too that should put the fear into those nasty strikers:
  • "Chief warns strikers

    Police Chief Gary Smith vowed to crack down on striking city workers who break the law after strike-related incidents, including confrontations on picket lines, kept officers hopping Thursday.

    The chief said about 80 per cent of all police calls Thursday morning were strike related and officers are investigating nine instances in the past two days in which city-owned vehicles and those marked with the Red Bull logo had tires punctured or slashed.

    He said he can understand the growing frustration of striking workers, but they cannot break the law. "These are good people, but all of a sudden, they're going to get slapped with a criminal charge," Smith warned. "We can't stand by and let crimes happen."

Since he obviously knows that these crimes have actually been committed and by strikers, then why do his officers need to investigate. He must know who they are too so he ought to go out and arrest them and lock them up.

Oh, you think perhaps the Police might be responsible for some of the "frustration" too:

  • "Smith conceded police have made some "mistakes" in dealing with strikers to date."

Nope, no mistakes when dealing with those opposed to the strike, just with strikers.

I think the Chief may have bigger problems than he is willing to admit though. After all of this time when there is a strike on, he can accuse his officers of

  • "junior kindergarten policing."

Oh my. What an indictment! That's a good way to increase morale or is that an attack on his own staff! Have the kindergarten kids being reprimanded yet, sent to sit into the corner, no more $100K Club salaries? Thank goodness there was no incident because the Police officers were not trained properly it seems! Does that mean Senior staff do not know what they are doing either?

Or perhaps the real story is that the Officers prevented a dangerous situation and should be congratulated! No matter, it made the Star.

Where is Sgt Brett Corey when you need him? Oh you remember him don't you. He was quick off the mark when he opined on what the Supreme Court of Canada said respecting picketing in front of the Mayor's house in a court case I could not find even though I looked hard:
  • "Windsor police spokesman Sgt. Brett Corey said the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2002 that it is unlawful to picket the private residence of the executive of a corporation."

Is the failure of the Police to enforce the rules respecting grass-cutting causing an esclation in controversy between strikers and citizens that could give rise to violence and someone getting hurt?

Has Sgt Corey instructed officers about what the City Parks By-law says about grass-cutting:

  • Destruction or Abuse of Trees, Plants, Flowers, Shrubs and Grass
    While in a Park, no person shall:

    (1) Destroy, cut, mark, break, dig, pull up, burn or in any way damage, injure, deface, remove or deface any tree, flower, shrub, plant, sod, grass or other vegetation, soil, sand, gravel or wood.

Perhaps the Department could instruct their officers what they should do so that we do not have any more Star photos which are designed to inflame opinions just before Sid Ryan came to town. It is a shame that a CUPE striker, as a Star photo shows, has to do this:

I do not envy a Police Officer on strike duty. It is a tough job being an officer in a situation where emotions are high and people have been on strike for so long and citizens feel their City is turning ugly. No matter what an officer does, someone will get angry.

In this case, the Police Department must take pro-active steps to ensure that the law is enforced so that no one does something stupid that may inadvertantly cause a terrible harm by an unthinking action. That is why we have laws after all.

It would also help if the Star was somewhat more careful in what photos they run. They have caused enough damage with that!

As you can see, I will agree with Sgt Corey on one thing he said:

  • "Our position in this strike is we are trying to be impartial and de-escalate situations," Corey said.

    "Tensions are running high. We are between a rock and a hard place."

I see that he got to contact his Chief and remind him of that:

  • "So it’s just a balancing act of trying to make sure everybody’s rights are protected and nobody’s rights are infringed. That’s the hard part about being a police officer on the picket line.”

    He said he’ll also remind his officers to keep level heads.

    “I’ll emphasize to my officers to remain neutral, think about the basics when you’re out there, be careful and don’t get tricked into doing something drastic, because that could happen as well,” Smith said.

Back to the Chief, I do not envy the Chief though. I am sure that by the time that the Privacy Commissioner gets through investigating Police practices, big changes will be made that will make the CUPE matter appear miniscule.

In case you are interested, here is how Versadex is advertised. It is the system Windsor Police used for juror background checks:

  • "The checks are made through Versadex, a confidential database that contains information on any contact an individual has had with police.