Publisher's Commentary

A Bold New World Awaits

It seemed like a simple errand. My sergeant gave me a purchase order and address and told me to pick up some detective pocket badges. Regular members were not issued pocket badges because of a murky logic that worried members would run amok flashing their badges around 24 hours a day. We did have a "warrant card," about the size of a credit card.

Trying to arrest someone while in plain clothes could be a challenge. Somehow the sight of a man waving a card did not evoke the required and often necessary response. Many a good brawl resulted when the person being arrested wanted to see a piece of tin as the authoritative ID so I was eager to see where our hat badges were made.

I approached a concrete structure with bars on all the windows and a solid brass door with very thick glass. I remember thinking that police holding cells didn't look this secure. I buzzed the intercom and the door unlocked.

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Blue Line Magazine March 2015 Subscribe

Outside the Fence

Post 9/11, the federal government instituted regulations requiring Canadian nuclear power plants to have an armed presence on site 24/7. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) initially signed a contract with the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) to supply armed security to its greater Toronto nuclear plants in Darlington and Pickering.

The DRPS contract remained in place for about 10 years but the OPG decided in 2008 to begin training its own people to take over. That transition was completed in 2012.

"Many of the officers engaged in that activity are either ex-law enforcement or military," notes Paul Nadeau, OPG Vice President of Security & Emergency Services. "The model at our sites incorporate both armed and unarmed officers. An unarmed officer may be operating scanning and search equipment whereas an armed officer would respond to a breach."


RCMP bargaining rights upheld

On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a six to one judgement in the case of Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada, effectively overturning the longstanding ban on collective bargaining and unionization within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The ruling affirmed that any such ban was an unreasonable violation of RCMP members' Section 2(d) Charter right to freedom of association, and gave the Government of Canada a one year period to introduce changes to the current labour relations structure of the force.

It is important to understand the background of this monumental decision:

Over 15 years ago, Gaetan Delisle, an RCMP officer from the Province of Quebec, was the first to challenge the prohibition against collective bargaining within the force. After a long court battle, the Supreme Court held (in 1999) that at the time, the ban contained within the Public Sector Labour Relations Act did not present a sufficient infringement to warrant overturning the entire labour relations scheme. That judgement (Delisle v. Canada (Deputy Attorney General) has now been effectively overturned with this more recent decision.


Reasonable grounds not divide and conquer exercise

The grounds for making a breath demand are to be viewed as a whole, not isolated and sequentially elimnated.

In R. v. Schofield, 2015 NSCA 5, a police officer with 38 years’ experience and 600 previous impaired driving investigations saw a vehicle being driven at dusk with dim headlights and no taillights. When the officer turned on his emergency lights, the vehicle turned right into a driveway, cutting across the driveway shoulder.

The driver got out and leaned against the tail of the vehicle, smoking a cigarette. The officer saw a can still foaming with beer in it which he believed had been thrown out the vehicle window. The officer recognized the driver as Schofiled, whom he had arrested previously for impaired driving and had seen sober at the courthouse. He also knew he was a prohibited driver. His breath smelled strongly of alcohol and his eyes were glassy.


Blue Line News Week March 06, 2015 Subscribe

Privacy commissioners caution police

Mar 02 2015

A recent statement issued by the federal, territorial, and provincial privacy commissioners urged caution when equipping police with body cameras.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada issued a statement alongside a set of guidelines to help law enforcement agencies develop policies and procedures governing the use of body-worn videos (BWV).

“There are clearly benefits to the use of body-worn cameras, however, there are also significant privacy implications. Given this, and as more and more policing organizations consider adopting this technology, we are encouraging them to address those privacy issues upfront to ensure they strike the right balance between law enforcement needs and the privacy rights of Canadians,” stated Daniel Therrien, privacy commissioner of Canada.