Publisher's Commentary

COMMENTARY - Engaging a Charter Right

The Canadian aversion to arming parallel law enforcement people concerns me. Responding to alarm calls in my early years, I recall the 'key holder' security car drivers always having a gun on their hip. I always felt just a little safer knowing this.

The guns gradually disappeared. When I asked why, no one seemed to have an answer. From then on I had to worry not only about my own safety but the security officer as well when entering a building. The stress level ratcheted up a couple of notches. Nowadays the dispatcher tells lone responders to await back-up, which takes two officers off the road for an alarm call. Get the picture here?

Years back I asked why nuclear power plant security officers were not armed. "I don't know" was the refreshingly forthright answer from a high level supervisor.

So what was the issue with arming them? That answer was simply not available. Politicians and even top leaders at these organizations were speechless when asked this question. Is it lack of faith in the officer's ability? Public opinion? Traditional, heavy handed gun control? Whatever the answer, people at the top put up passive resistance, as if the question had never been asked or simply not heard.

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Blue Line Magazine February 2016 Subscribe

The Specialized Crisis Nurse Program

A collaboration between the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) has significantly reduced mental health apprehensions and police wait-times at hospitals and improving service to patients within their own homes.

WRPS and Waterloo Wellington LHIN struck a committee in late 2012 tasked with developing a model to address key factors relating to how police respond to mental health incidents. The goal was to educate officers on alternatives to apprehension and assist in identifying opportunities for practical intervention.

WRPS officers were making apprehensions in 53 per cent of all MHA related incidents at the time, but only achieving admissions 20 per cent of the time. Spending hours waiting in hospital emergency departments for patient assessments was an inefficient use of officers' time. There was a clear need to better serve those in crisis and improve police response to mental health related incidents.


Arrest Grounds Depend On All The Circumstances

In a two to one decision, Newfoundland's top court has upheld the arrest of a driver after a police officer saw a knife positioned nearby.

In R. v. Diamond, 2015 NLCA 60 a police officer stopped a pick-up truck at 12:55 am on a remote road for travelling 80 km/h in a 50 zone. He radioed in the licence number and was advised to be cautious because the registered owner had earlier been arrested for drugs and had a scanner and knife.

The officer saw a police scanner above the driver-side window visor as he approached the vehicle and noted the truck was higher than usual because it had large tires and a suspension lift. When asked for his driver's license and registration, Diamond checked his window visor but could not find it. The officer asked him to check the glove box and the officer saw some money he had been sitting on when he leaned over.

The officer, with at least part of his head and hand through the open window, shone his flashlight on "an unsheathed hunting type knife within Diamond's reach next to the driver-side door. Diamond was arrested for possessing a weapon dangerous to the public peace and was placed in handcuffs and patted-down at the roadside. A small bag of cocaine fell from his clothing.


Blue Line News Week February 05, 2016 Subscribe

Calgary police say there's a chance the new drug is being mixed into illegal doses of fentanyl

Feb 03 2016

Police in Alberta are warning residents about W-18, a powerful opioid 100 times stronger than fentanyl, discovered during a drug bust last summer.

Calgary police said 110 fentanyl pills were seized from a home in Rocky View County in southern Alberta in August.

In December, tests from Health Canada confirmed three pills contained W-18.

"It's an ongoing concern based on the fact W-18 is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl," Martin Schiavetta, a staff sergeant with the Calgary Police Service Drug Unit, told Global News. "And we already know the deadly consequences fentanyl has."