Publisher's Commentary

Mission Creep in firearms training

The bank alarm call was only a block away on Yonge Street so I told dispatch my partner and I would check it out. Working in the fraud squad, we drove an unmarked car and wore suits.

The dispatcher made this clear to uniform back-up units. We might be mistaken for robbers (although few wear suits, especially in the mid 1980s) but we carried handguns, which could quickly cause a catastrophe when backup arrived. It was then that the chill thought hit me; Where was my gun?

"Oh crikey!" I had left it in my desk drawer. What to do? "I have to tell my partner," I thought to myself.

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Blue Line Magazine October 2015 Subscribe

Tactical Repositioning

There has been significant lop-sided media coverage on recent shootings of 'unarmed' subjects, especially those armed with non-firearm weapons. Apart from the howls of racism, much of the focus, particularly stateside, has been on distance between combatants and the ensuing time (and number of shots) needed to stop the unfolding threat.

The Las Vegas Police Department has decided to include de-escalation techniques in use-of-force training. There are two major issues with deadly threat situations: a basic deficiency in the public understanding of the use of lethal force (and possibly) a lack of training in how to make critical decisions in deadly force calls.

The great social divide between the community and police is magnified when police are forced to save their own lives by using deadly force as per their training. Some blacks and all police haters see the outcome as mentally ill black men or innocent 'unarmed' teens being "gunned down by trigger-happy cops."


Safety search reasonable despite unlawful detention

Exigent circumstances may justify a safety search and render it reasonable despite the person being arbitrarily detained when it was conducted.

In R. v. Fountain, 2015 ONCA 354, the accused and another young black man were walking past a police car when he was singled out and called over for questioning. The police officer was part of the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), a community policing program.

TAVIS officers engage in pro-active policing, sometimes randomly approaching people and talking to them. Information revealed during these encounters may be of a general or investigative interest and can be documented through a Field Investigative Report ("208 card") with identification and association information. This information is used to build and maintain a database of individuals and their associates, primarily in high-crime or so-called "priority" areas.


Blue Line News Week October 02, 2015 Subscribe

Uneven rate of marijuana charges across Canada

Sep 30 2015

Police deal with a marijuana possession incident every nine minutes in Canada, according to 2014 figures, but a CBC News analysis found that where you live plays a big role in determining whether you would have faced criminal charges.

Kelowna, B.C., tops the list of 34 Canadian cities for the highest per capita rate of marijuana charges. There were 251 charges per 100,000 population in 2014, far above the Canadian average of 79. The city of St. John's, by contrast, had 11 charges per 100,000.

Stephen Harper announced a tougher attitude on drug possession when he took office, and statistics show marijuana incidents and charges have gone up by about 30 per cent between 2006 and 2014. But local attitudes by law enforcement play a big role in how many charges are laid, according to experts.