COP HATERS – School is In

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When I was approached by the Winnipeg Free Press and asked to publish Peter O’Kane’s tribute in the newspaper I realized that I would be providing an opportunity to a select group of citizens to spew their anonymous venom.

The group I’m talking about are the Cop Hating comment posters on the Winnipeg Free Press website.

I admit, I was a bit concerned that their venomous comments might be taken personally by Peters grieving family members.

The decision to publish the tribute was not an autocratic one, consultations with those closest to Pete endorsed the idea and saw it as a great opportunity to celebrate the life of a unique man with a wider audience.

So the story went to press and the cop haters didn’t disappoint.

With all the courage that anonymity provides, the haters took their shots at Pete and me both.  It seems they took issue with certain terms I used in the tribute, specifically “The Thin Blue Line” & “Old School.” As a matter of fact, I have noticed that our friends in print media have often misconstrued the definition and intent of these words.

The hateful spin the anonymous heroes put on these terms didn’t really surprise me but it did provide me with an opportunity to take the cop haters to school and educate them regarding this terminology.

School is in…..

According to Wikipedia “The Blue Line” stands for Law Enforcement Officers. The top black part stands for The good and the bottom black part stands for the bad. All together, the Blue Line (Law Enforcement) separates the good from the bad.

Although I can relate to the Wikipedia definition, it runs much deeper than that for me.

When people ask me why I joined the Police Department I have a simple explanation for them, it spells out the true meaning of the controversial phrase “The Thin Blue Line.”

When I was eighteen (18) years old I was dating a young woman who I had taken to dinner in downtown Winnipeg.  After parking the car we were in the process of walking to the restaurant when I noticed a group of people looking across the street with horrific expressions etched on their faces.

As I looked across the street the cause for their concerns were evident.

There on the sidewalk lay a disheveled man who was being subjected to a ruthless beating by some no account scum bag who was kicking him in the face, head and body.

All eyes cast across the street and not one person motivated to act.  Much to the shock and amazement of the gallery, I yelled across the street;

“Hey asshole” I said.

The scum bag ignored me and continued on with his brutal assault.

“Hey asshole” I yelled in a much louder and more authoritative voice.

This time the abuser stopped and looked across the street making unwavering eye contact with me.

“You kick that guy one more time and I am going to cross the street and kick your ass!” I said with my chest puffed out and an expression on my face meant to send the message that I was only to willing to make good on the threat.

The scum bags face now mirrored the expressions of the bystanders, amazed that someone had the balls or concern to intervene.  He stood there for a moment and appeared to be assessing his options.

He looked down on the victim, clearly wanting to continue the beating, then looked back across the street at me observing that I had now taken one step off the curb towards his direction.

That was all the coward needed to see, I was for real and I meant what I said.  He turned and slowly walked away.  The victim of the beating struggled to his feet and left in the opposite direction.

That’s it, it really doesn’t get much deeper than that.

The willingness to confront the shit, to stand up for people who can’t defend themselves, to sacrifice yourself to confront evil.  Some of us just have “that thing” inside of us.  At some point in my life I came to realize that I had “that thing” inside of me.

Peter O’Kane had a ton of “that thing” inside of him.

Just about every cop I ever met had “that thing” inside of them.

It’s the same thing that was inside of the Police Officers and First Responders on “9-11” who ran up those stairs while everybody else ran out.

The twenty-five or so spectators watching that guy get his ass kicked on the sidewalk didn’t have “that thing.”

That doesn’t make Police Officers better than anybody else, it just make us different.

Police Officers represent that small percentage of people in society who have “that thing” that drives them to serve and protect everyone else.

“That thing” separates us from the majority, “that thing” is the essence of “The Thin Blue Line.”

I’ve learned to love and embrace “that thing” inside of me.

According to Wikipedia “Old School” can refer to anything that is from an earlier era, anything that may be considered old-fashioned.

Its true,  I called Peter O’Kane an “Old School” cop.

As a card-carrying “Old School” member, I have the right to make that assessment.

So what does that mean exactly?

Wikipedia essentially has it right, “Old School” refers to things from an earlier era, out of fashion things like respect for Law & Order for example.

“Old School” cops believe in serving and protecting.  They believe that the streets of our City belong to law-abiding citizens and not drug dealers and gangsters.

They believe their patrol area is “their” turf and they don’t like criminals shitting in their back yards.

“Old School” is walking into a downtown bar and being prepared to face any “asshole” in the building who thinks he’s a tough guy and wants to test you.

“Old School” is about getting punched, kicked and spit on and having the guts to come back for more.

“Old School” is about being tough but fair.

“Old School” is giving a shit about victims of crime, taking their crimes personally and doing everything you can to properly represent them.

“Old School” is about having a strong work ethic, showing up for work on time and being ready to go when the bell rings.

Unlike the evil spin the cop haters try to put on this beloved term, I wear my “Old School” tag like a badge of honor.

Peter O’Kane wore that tag like a badge of honor.

Peter O’Kane doesn’t need to apologize to anyone for being an “Old School” Cop, nor do I.

Its one of the reasons why so many of us respected him.

Its one of the reasons why hundreds of cops showed up at church on Tuesday to pay their respects to Peter, his grieving wife and family.

So now that the haters have been enlightened I challenge them to start looking in the mirror before they enter their next anonymous cop hating venom in the comment sections on tributes for one of our fallen soldiers.

Ask yourself what you have done for your community.

Ask yourself what you stand for.

Ask yourself if you have the courage to confront evil or sacrifice your life for the safety and security of your fellow citizens.

Ask yourself if you have the right to Judge Men and Women whose boots you could never fill.

Next time, do us all a favour and take a break from the keyboard.

Schools out!

PETER O’KANE – The Thin Blue Line Just Got Thinner

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Peter O’Kane was a rare and unique human being.

I first heard of Pete when he joined the Police Force almost twenty years ago.  An escalating labour dispute, some mouth piece shooting off his gate and a little overhand right.  It was the perfect start to launch Pete’s career in Law Enforcement.

If I had to pick one word to describe the Peter O’Kane that I knew, it would be “old school.”

Pete was built for the job.

He had the hard nosed belief that the streets of Winnipeg belonged to him and not the criminal scum bags that preyed on our vulnerable citizens.

Pete was the quintessential “sheep dog” protecting the sheep from the wolf.

Most cops will know what I’m talking about.

The mindset of a hard nose Street Cop perfectly expressed by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, US Army (retired) an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier, speaker and expert on human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime.

“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath–a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.”

If you’ve never heard it before, you should follow the link, it will help you understand the essence of Peter O’Kane.

http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

In 2005, I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and transferred to General Patrol in Division #11, Downtown Winnipeg, to run the A3 Platoon.

When I took the job my first priority was to “team build.”

It was during this time that Pete approached me looking for a spot on my shift.  My initial reaction could best be described as uncertain.  I didn’t know Pete very well at this point and I had concerns about this “cowboy” who always seemed to be in or around “the shit.”

After doing a little research and receiving overwhelming endorsements from guys like Jon Lutz and Jeff Seaford, the choice became clear.  Pete was a “gem” they told me and I’d be nuts if I didn’t take him.

So I drafted him and never regretted it.

Petes’ work ethic, commitment and dedication to “the job” was second to none.  A guy who was always at work a minimum of half an hour before the shift started.  There he was, doing his thing, getting organized, doing computer checks and talking “shit” to the officers on the other shifts.

It always amazed me how Pete would call me and tell me he was running late only to show up twenty minutes before shift start.  To Pete, that was late.  I used to tell him that he didn’t have to call me when he was going to be in late, not when his late was still early, but the message never got thru, he always called anyway.  He was stubborn that way.

Pete brought a lot to the table.  He was a dream cop for a Supervisor.   I used to love how he would bust the balls of the young cops who would stroll into the shift briefings late or just seconds before the scheduled start time.

It was a thing of beauty.

Up one side and down the other, poor defenseless rookies getting their asses kicked by Pete for their lack of commitment to the job.  The supervisors sitting mute, no need to address the issues, not when Pete O’Kane was in the house.

No one could tell a story quite like Pete.  He regaled us at every shift briefing with his unique sense of humor injected into every tale.  Not to mention his “one liners” or my personal favorite, the way he would refer to the guys on the shift as “she” or “her.”

“I wasn’t talking to her.  Oh, she thinks she’s a tough guy.”

It was great comedy and made coming to work fun.

I had a great bond with Pete.

My heroes growing up were Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard.

I was a huge boxing fan, as was my father and brothers.  We loved to train, spar and knock each other senseless.  It was a natural connection for us.

I remember when Pete came into my office and got on the computer to  show me a Youtube video of one of his fights on ESPN.  After a couple of minutes I diagnosed Pete as a typical Irish fighter.  Tough as nails, iron chin and an inbred desire to trade with his opponents, even if it meant taking two or three shots to every one he gave.

After I watched the fight I said, “Nice defence Peter,” his reply “Defence is overrated.”

The fight game would take its toll on Pete who found himself on the receiving end of an “intervention” orchestrated by several of his closest friends who grew concerned about the obvious damage that Pete was taking from the sport he so loved.

Petes’ speech was becoming impaired and it was disconcerting to everyone.

It wouldn’t be easy for Pete to hang em up, but he got the message.

I give those guys credit, they probably saved his life.

Like the true champ that he was, Pete took the speech impairment thing in stride.  Never shy of dishing it out, Pete could take it too.  Cops are relentless trash talkers and Pete was one of the best.

Petes’ speech impairment was often interpreted by citizens as alcohol impairment, a situation that provided great material for the guys who loved to mess with him.

It was always funny up to the point when Pete would threaten to make the trash talkers piss blood.  Once it went there, everybody just walked away.  No one really wanted to be the first to find out if Pete meant it.

In 2008, I hired Pete to build a deck on the front of my residence.

It was during this time that I would see that Petes’ work ethic and dedication to excellence was not just limited to his Police career.

He showed up every day, early as expected, worked his ass off and refused to take breaks.  My wife had to literally force him to stop his work and take five minutes to eat a sandwich.

His work, creativity and attention to detail was impeccable.

In fact, it was so good that the final product won a “best deck” contest prize that netted us a $500 free shopping spree at Bird Lumber.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing.

Every day Pete would bring one of the loves of his life to the job site.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and everything, but every day after Pete would leave the job I would look around the yard and find gigantic holes dug in my lawn along with enormous piles of dog shit.  Much like his owner, this was no normal dog, normal dogs don’t drop logs the size of landscape ties on peoples lawns.

The next day I would confront Pete and tell him to put some mitts and a diaper on his mutt but he would just give me that sheepish grin and fire off some smart ass remark that would make us both break up in laughter.

The last time I saw Pete was at my retirement party this year.

It was great to see him and I was honored to see his face in the crowd.

I was especially honoured to share a couple of drinks with him at the after party in our hotel room.

That honor turned to horror as I would later see him snuggled up to one of my beautiful daughters on the couch engaged in an intimate conversation.  That’s when I gave him one of these;

In typical O’Kane style, he just smirked and said, “What are you going to do.”

Peter O’Kane wasn’t a perfect human being, but he was a great warrior, blessed with steely courage and dogged determination, a great leader who inspired everyone around him.

Pete had a great sense of humor and shared that gift with all of us.

As tough as he was, it wasn’t hard to see that he had a soft side filled with love and adoration for his family, friends and those he cared about.

Above all else, Peter O’Kane was a good soldier.

We all mourn his loss.

Rest in Peace Brother.

The thin blue line just got thinner.

FOOTNOTE:

This tribute was featured in the Winnipeg Free Press on Sunday, November 25th, 2012.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/the-thin-blue-line-just-got-thinner-180731661.html

LINKS:

Winnipeg Free Press Obituary

http://passages.winnipegfreepress.com/passage-details/id-197011/name-Peter_Okane/run-date-2012_11_24/classification-id-1/order-publish_date%7CDESC,last_name%7CASC,first_name%7CASC/page-3/

ABORIGINAL APOCALYPSE – The Randy Turner Story

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I just experienced journalistic blunt force trauma.

An assault on the truth and a journey down a venomous path rife with fatalistic racist ideas that have to be confronted.

It’s a story that will undoubtedly be lauded by many people from the Aboriginal Community who buy into the endless victimization and racist rhetoric.   It will also impress a large number of gullible politically correct people who believe everything they read.

If you haven’t read the story, please do, it’s a must read for people who strive to be socially aware.  Be forewarned, it is more like a short story than a newspaper article, as is my rebuttal.

The title; “On the front lines of the missing and murdered women tragedy, pain never fades” written by Randy Turner Winnipeg Free Press.

I would like to add some balance to the story, confront the racist conjecture and challenge people to do some critical thinking.

The focal point of the story is Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women, the Canadian tragedy.

The article so rife with racist lies and biased perceptions that I feel compelled to stand up and be counted for the silent majority that will undoubtedly be offended by the content.

I will start by pointing out the lies and then I will do my best to confront them.

THE LIE:

The report suggests reasons driving the tragedy; “Perhaps because the women who are never seen alive again are invariably the victims of a perfect storm of hurt; gender inequality, overt racism and social injustice. Poor Aboriginal Women.”

THE TRUTH:

On July 13th, 2012, Project Devote, the RCMP – WPS task force investigating Missing & Murdered Women in Manitoba, released statistics related to their findings.

In all, twenty (20) homicides and eight (8) missing person cases were linked by one factor, the individuals were all at a high risk of becoming victims of violent crime due to high risk, dangerous lifestyle choices such as: substance abuse, transient life style, involvement in the sex trade or participation in hitchhiking. Mental Health issues were also cited as a factor.

These causation factors are tangible results painstakingly extracted from volumes of files contained in cold case binders while the suggestions of gender inequality, overt racism and social injustice are based on perceptions.

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak reported that at least eighteen (18) of the twenty-eight (28) cases the task force is investigating involve Aboriginal Women.

So what conclusions can we draw from the seemingly forgotten thirty-six (36%) percent of non-Aboriginal women that have been reported murdered or missing.  Does gender inequality, social injustice and overt racism apply to these cases, or do we just accept the fact that they were killed largely because they lived a high risk lifestyle?  The reality is that this isn’t just happening to Aboriginal women, a factor that waters down the suggestion that racism is a primary contributing factor.

I certainly do not deny that societal racism towards Aboriginal People exists, and that gender inequality and social injustice are factors that contribute to the central issue.  However, the suggestion that Aboriginal Women are going missing and being murdered simply because of racism, gender inequality and social injustice completely ignores the realities discovered by the research conducted by Project Devote.

This is NOT about victim blaming, it’s about REALITY, and the reality is that high risk lifestyles are one of the most important causation factors that contribute to the numbers of Missing & Murder Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women.

Focusing blame on racism, gender inequality and social injustice distorts the reality and removes responsibility for people to make safe, healthy life style choices.

Blaming these societal ills absolves our social services for their failure to erect effective social safety nets and to develop programs that would help to keep Aboriginal & Non-Aboriginal women off the streets and out of the crack houses where they are exposed to so much danger.

Blame is a negative, unproductive pursuit.

THE LIE:

Leslie Spillet, executive director of Ka Ni Kanichihk, a community based services center that has developed a program for families of Missing & Murdered Women provides us with a “clinical, fundamental history lesson” and her interpretation of the current state of affairs.

“Fast-forward through generations of reserves, relocation and residential schools, and go figure that nobody cares if another dirty squaw goes missing. She was probably just another whore looking for crack.”

THE TRUTH:

The suggestion that nobody cares if another “dirty squaw” goes missing is purely outrageous racist rhetoric.

I have lived my entire adult life in middle class Winnipeg suburbia and have never heard the term “dirty squaw” and have never been exposed to the sentiments expressed by Spillet.  Not in my community, not in my work place, not in my family, not anywhere.

THE LIE:

Kim Anderson, Aboriginal author & researcher states “”If native women are constructed as ‘easy squaws’ and are locked into this imagery through the behavior of individuals, they will continue to be rendered worthless in public institutions such as courtrooms or hospitals.”

THE TRUTH:

More racist rhetoric now directed at the Courts and Medical Professionals.

My experience in Manitoba Courts tells me that Justice can be elusive for people of all races.  Sentencing for the ultimate crime is often grossly inadequate, the value of all human life sadly reflective of a desensitized legal system.

In reality, male and female Aboriginal offenders receive extraordinary considerations in our Courts by virtue of the need for Judges to apply the Gladue Report when arriving at a “fair” sentence.  (R vs Gladue – 1999 Supreme Court of Canada)

Many people feel that Gladue is a racist decision that further promotes societal racism and division, sentiments expressed by Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck on April 12, 2102.

You can find the story here; http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/04/12/the-law-is-racist-brodbeck

When it comes to Manitoba Medical Professionals, I have to say that the notion that Doctors and Nurses in our Province perceive Aboriginal Women as “easy squaws” or “worthless” is a blatantly false, racist and inflammatory accusation.

I have three (3) medical professionals in my immediate family.  One Doctor and two registered nurses, all of them caring committed professional care givers who have extensive experience treating Aboriginal people.

In fact, for over a decade, one of them has opted to exclusively work with Aboriginal people in Northern Manitoba.  She does so because she cares about the people and respects & enjoys Aboriginal culture.

I don’t have the facts and figures but I feel confident that the Manitoba Government spends significant dollars on Aboriginal Health Care in the Province of Manitoba.

THE LIE:

Anderson continues; “If we treat native women as easy or drunken squaws in the court system, we feed negative stereotypes that will further enable individuals to abuse native females, and so on. Native female images are part of a vicious cycle that deeply influences the lives of contemporary native women. We need to get rid of the images, the systems that support them and the abusive practices carried out by individuals.

THE TRUTH:

I spent over twenty-five years enforcing the law in the City of Winnipeg.  A significant amount of that time was spent providing evidence during literally hundreds of trials at our Law Courts.

Not once did I ever witness a case where an Aboriginal woman was treated as a “easy or drunken squaw.”

I would admit that the Courts don’t place much value on evidence provided by sex trade workers when it comes to prosecutions, many of these prosecutions are related to their victimization for sexual assaults or other offences.

The Courts seem to judge these victims harshly and often focus on credibility issues that arise from addiction issues or prior criminal history.

Race was never the issue, not overtly or covertly.

THE LIE:

Leslie Spillet asserts; “We know that every morning, a man in south Winnipeg wakes up and drives to the North End to rape children.”

THE TRUTH:

The reference to “south Winnipeg”, a predominately white community, can only mean one thing.

Interpretation; “Every morning, a “white man” in South Winnipeg wakes up and drives to the North End to rape children.”

Another inflammatory, racist, divisive statement that is simply not true.

The fact is that men from all races, religions and creeds patronize sex trade workers.  That is true today and it has always been true.  The sex trade thrives in almost every major City in every Country across the entire planet.

The fact that Spillet harbors these racist beliefs is disconcerting, especially when you consider the fact that she has a leadership role as the executive director in a Government funded Aboriginal Organization.

I’m not sure how her racist rhetoric meshes with her mandate to elevate Aboriginal people.

THE LIE:

Chickadee Richard, a longtime activist and outreach community worker tells us about an incident when she was walking her ten (10) year old daughter to school when a car pulled up and the man offered her $10 for oral sex.

“That traumatized me.  What right do you have? I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. Because I’m native and walking down the street you have the right to do that? When is it going to end? You’ve been beaten down so much you don’t want to get up. You lose faith in humanity.”

THE TRUTH:

After tens years of marriage with someone who struggled with alcohol addiction I was forced to take a hard look at myself and examine my deepest feelings.

Part of this process included taking an intensive program at AFM that focused on healthy feelings and relationships.  One of the most important messages I learned during this process was that we all have the power to choose how we feel.

A message that I would like to share with Chickadee Richard.

The fact that you blame the entire incident on your ethnicity shows a limited understanding of the encounter.

You were walking in an area that is frequented by a high number of Aboriginal female sex trade workers.  As an activist and community outreach worker you should not have been surprised that you were propositioned.

The fact that you internalized the incident is unfortunate.  The expression of loss of spirit and faith in humanity is incredibly sad.  You could have processed the incident in a much different fashion that didn’t include the need for you to be traumatized by the encounter.  It wasn’t your fault that you were propositioned.

You were propositioned by a flawed human being who undoubtedly suffers from some form of serious dysfunction, be it emotional, sexual, addiction, mental health or a combination thereof.

THE LIE:

Randy Turner continues;

“But back to the “drunken sluts” who are their own worst enemies, who by choice expose themselves to the deadly risks of the unforgiving street. Without question, that is a prevailing attitude that has for so long muted the voices of the families of murdered and missing women — at least to the ears of the general public, police and legislators.”

THE TRUTH:

With a sweeping brush Turner demonizes the Police, general public and our legislators by placing his own sensational interpretation of our feelings towards Aboriginal Women.

Having worked on dozens of murder cases involving Aboriginal Women & Men, the vast majority of which were solved, I find that Turners suggestion is not only offensive, but it is not true, it’s racist and it’s inflammatory.

Over eight (8) years of Homicide investigation, over two hundred (200) cases worked, and not once did the race of a victim play any part or influence the mindset of the investigators who worked with dogged determination to solve every case.

You don’t solve 90% of Homicides over a twelve (12) year period if you couldn’t care less about the “drunken sluts” who got murdered.

The entire suggestion is pure unadulterated bullshit.

THE LIE:

Nahanni Fontaine, longtime activist and special advisor on the file of missing & murdered women for the Provincial Government weighs in; “If you have somebody that has all this rage, who better to take it out on than someone who’s considered dispensable or less-than?”

THE TRUTH:

Herein lies one of the biggest problems regarding the issue of missing and murdered women.  The people in positions of power lack a practical understanding of the problem.

It really isn’t so much that these women are “dispensable or less than.”

Its more about the fact that they are “available” and easily accessible targets.

These women are not being abducted from the safety of their homes.

The majority of them have substance abuse issues or are involved in the sex trade and as a result, are exposed to elevated risks inherent with frequenting crack houses or plying their trade on the dangerous streets of Winnipeg.

Many of these women are also exposed to significant risk from Aboriginal street gangs who ensure they have an endless supply of crack cocaine, but also ensure that crack debts are collected with ruthless brutality.

I’ve personally met hundreds of these women and can tell you that they don’t care about themselves, their safety or anything else.  “Rock” is their only friend and its all that they care about.  They are trapped in a deadly 24/7 cycle that revolves around their need to turn tricks, get cash for crack, use crack and do it all  again.  They don’t stop for food or rest and they rarely bother to check in with family or those that care about them.

They are victims in the truest sense of the word, slave to their addictions and all the danger it brings, not in the state of mind required to make healthy choices, all in need of interventions, none of them ever wanted to end up this way.

THE LIE:

Turner cites the 1995 case of two white men who beat and killed an Aboriginal prostitute just outside of Regina.  Although originally charged with 1st degree murder the two men, one the son of a former cabinet minister, the other a sone of a university professor, were convicted of Manslaughter and received sentences of six and a half years in prison.

The spin; that the ruling had racial undertones and favoured the white  defendants.

THE TRUTH:

Mr Turner should read his own newspaper.

Specifically Crime Reporter Mike McIntyre’s story “Getting away with Murder – Plea bargaining down to manslaughter is often distasteful but a necessary evil to prevent killers from walking, frustrated justice officials say.”

You can find the story here http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/getting-away-with-murder-159286705.html

The truth is that the racist insinuations suggested in this part of the story are completely baseless.

As reported in Mr McIntyre’s story, plea bargains from 1st degree murder to manslaughter are the “rule” and not the exception.

I have participated in dozens of plea bargain conversations with Manitoba Crown Attorneys and not once did we ever discuss the color of a defendants or the victims skin when we tried to arrive at a consensus regarding the appropriate resolution of a murder case.

If Mr Turner did his research he would find out that a six and a half-year sentence for manslaughter is a mid range sentence.

THE LIE:

The story highlights the pain and suffering of Brenda Osborne, an Aboriginal Women too familiar with the devastation caused by senseless killings.  Her cousins Helen Betty Osborne and Felicia Solomon both tragically murdered. Her daughter Claudette vanished in July 2008.

“My mother told me a long time ago that we (aboriginal women) are nothing better than the dirt white people walk on,” Osborne said. “That hasn’t changed. If you’re at a certain place, they see you as easy pickings.”

THE TRUTH:

I grew up in an extraordinarily violent household, son to a father who often inflicted random vicious beatings on his children.  His use and abuse of alcohol contributed to the senseless violence.

Much like Brenda Osborne, my father also gave me messages that were capable of the destruction of ones self-esteem.

“You are a piece of shit, you’re a bum, you’ll never amount to anything” were all messages I constantly received from the time I was a young child.

I rejected those messages and respectfully suggest that Brenda Osborne could have done the same.

The message Brenda Osborne received from her mother was racist, unbalanced and categorically untrue.

Not all white people are racist and not all white people have the same degrading perception of Aboriginal women that her mother suggested.  The idea that all white people subscribe to such a belief is biased and stereotypical.

Even though I experienced several racist incidents as a young boy, one of which included a confrontation with a white man who called my brothers and I “niggers” ,  I never once believed that all white people shared the same ignorant perspective and that the entire white race should be painted with the same ugly brush.

It’s sad that Brenda did not enjoy a more balanced perspective as a child as it has clearly influenced her perception of the world as an adult.

THE LIE:

“Sally” a woman speaking under a pseudonym shares her story.  A forty-three (43) year old drug addicted sex trade worker described as a connoisseur of the “pills, alcohol and crack.”

“A lot of us have disappeared, I have no clue what’s going on. These are my sisters who are missing, who are dead. It scares me, but I work because of my drug problem. I’m still at rock bottom. It’s a bad, bad life, to say the least.”

THE TRUTH:

“Sally” is lying to us and to herself.

She knows exactly whats going on, as does virtually every other sex trade worker standing on those cold street corners.  “Bad tricks” are a reality for sex trade workers.  They know that they are exposing themselves to inordinate risk by continuing to chase their addictions.  “Sally” knows it whether she wants to continue playing the role of the clueless addict or not.

If you didn’t catch it, “Sally” makes it clear that the fear of being murdered is not enough to conquer her addiction and keep her off those streets.

Herein lies one of the most significant contributing factors to the central issue.  Drug addicted sex trade workers that fully know the dangers and are still prepared to sacrifice themselves to chase their next high.

THE LIE:

The story enters into the realm of the serial killer.

Sean Lamb, adopted by a white family from an Ontario reserve as a toddler is exposed to sexual and physical abuse during his childhood.  He started abusing alcohol by age nine (9) and used heroin at age sixteen (16).

Nahanni Fontaine met with Lamb at the Remand Center a few years ago during the time she worked as an advocate for the Southern Chiefs Organization.  Fontaine quickly came to the conclusion that the Southern Chiefs Organization could not help Lamb.

THE TRUTH:

I’m not really sure what the message was supposed to be in this section of the story.  The fact that Turner felt it necessary to mention that Lamb was adopted by a “white” family appears to be an intentional attempt to keep the racist thread flowing in his story.

Are we to blame the white people for what Lamb did.

Maybe we should blame Nahanni Fontaine and the Southern Chiefs Organization for not helping Lamb when he reached out to them.

In my mind Shaun Lamb should take responsibility for the things that Shaun Lamb did.  It doesn’t matter if his adopted family was Asian, Hispanic, Black or White.

Shaun Lamb made the choice to use crack and become an addict who killed people, and that’s on him.

THE LIE:

The story and people interviewed in the story are critical of Aboriginal men and the Aboriginal Leadership.

Brenda Osborne is quoted as saying, “Write that we don’t hear from our leaders.  Write that down. Come and sit with us and share our pain. They’re the ones who are in power. They’re supposed to be our voices. We’re not taken seriously. And we don’t want our leaders to be behind us. We want our leaders to be beside us or in front of us.”

Shannon Buck, program coordinator for the Red Road to Healing is quoted as saying, “No one wants to talk about the uncomfortable things.  In our community, sexual abuse, violence and addiction are huge. Our leadership in a lot of ways is unhealthy. Part of it is that men don’t know how to help. They’ve lost their role as protectors and providers. They’ve lost a part of themselves.”

After highlighting the inadequacies of Aboriginal men and Aboriginal Leadership,  Spillet promptly blamed these shortcomings on “colonialism”.

THE TRUTH:

I’ve been to some of the rallies and saw dozens of Aboriginal men in attendance offering their support.  Can Aboriginal men do more, of course they can, but as the story suggests, they may be caught between a rock and a hard place.

As Buck states, “There’s a lot of angry women who won’t let them get involved. They shut them out. They still view all men as predators. They’re not able to allow men to come beside them.”

Aboriginal men criticized for lack of leadership and assessed blame by Shannon Buck who expresses archaic, sexist ideals of the dominant male playing the role of the “protector and provider” for the powerless weaker sex.

I also heard from the Aboriginal Leadership.  Their message primarily focused on calls for a National Enquiry.

Although I personally disagree with the need for a National Enquiry, I believe that Grand Chief Nepinak has the best interest of his people at heart.

He is quoted as saying, “I’m a leader who is committed to finding an answer. Are we truly living up to that responsibility? We have to awake the warrior spirit in our people. The men have to take that role once again.”

I don’t see how blaming Aboriginal Men and the Aboriginal Leadership advances the cause.  This is just another example of the divisive nature of the article.

THE LIE:

Spillet continues to ramp up the racist rhetoric as the story starts to wind down.

The freaking army would be digging up every inch of that garbage dump to find a white child. We know it. We see it. It just tells us who we are.”

“Do you think if a bunch of kids from River Heights started killing themselves or each other that something wouldn’t be done?”

Turner writes “Spillet doesn’t wait for an answer. The question was rhetorical.”

THE TRUTH:

In an unprecedented departure from a scientific approach from a Homicide Investigation, and with commendable cultural sensitivity, the Winnipeg Police Service launched a search for the remains of murder victim Tanya Nepinak at the Brady Land Fill site.

The decision criticized by former Deputy Chief Menno Zacharias in a story he wrote on his blog called “The Search for Tanya Nepinaks Body – An Exercise in “Relationship Building”: Gone Awry.”

Find the story here; http://mennozacharias.com/2012/10/20/the-search-for-tanya-nepinaks-body-an-exercise-in-relationship-building-gone-awry/

Many people speculate, myself included, that the Police may never even have attempted to conduct the search if Tanya Nepinak had been a caucasian women.

It was clearly a Political decision motivated by a desire to demonstrate extraordinary cultural sensitivity to Tanya’s family and the Aboriginal Community.

Spillets racist comments are not only completely ridiculous, they are also highly inflammatory, divisive and offensive.

She should really be ashamed that such garbage flows from her mouth.

THE LIE:

The story morphs to Shawna Ferris, assistant professor in women and gender studies at the University of Manitoba.

“Who is attacking these women? It’s not just these lone, monster, serial guys,” said Ferris. “They get all the media attention. It’s males, mostly white, relatively educated and young.”

The exact demographic is difficult to determine, Ferris added, “Because there are a lot of people that don’t get caught. Often it isn’t any direct motive. It just happens: ‘She pissed me off so I hit her.'”

THE TRUTH:

Consistent with the need to continue the racist tones of the article, Ferris lays the blame on white men, with the caveat that the exact demographic is difficult to determine.

It seems to me that Ferris is relatively clueless.   Does she refer to any studies or statistics that could be shared with us.  If she has these kind of stats, Turner should have included them in his story.

The one thing we do know is that the last serial killer to be arrested in Manitoba was Shaun Lamb, an aboriginal offender who is alleged to be responsible for the killing of three innocent Aboriginal women.

Ferris’ apparent understanding of the murders in question is clearly scant.

I doubt that she has met many substance addicted sex trade workers or has had much involvement in Homicide investigations.  Nevertheless, she speculates regarding motive; “Often it isn’t any direct motive. It just happens: ‘She pissed me off so I hit her.”

A simplistic conclusion that I assume was based on speculation.

I have worked on a large number of Homicide cases and can tell you that there are many known motives and factors that contribute to these killings.

Known motives for men who commit these crimes are Sexual Assault, Sexual Addiction, Sexual Dysfunction, Anger & Control or Mental Health Issues.

Often times, men who frequent sex trade workers refuse to pay for services rendered, this scenario often creates extremely violent conflict.

I know from practical experience that a great number of sex trade workers carry edged weapons to defend themselves from bad dates.  When it comes to physical conflict, these women can be  disarmed with potentially deadly consequences.

Drug addicted sex trade workers can also be very dangerous individuals.  Many of them have mental health issues that increase their potential to use violence against their customers.  When these women are chasing their next high they often resort to drastic measures like Theft, Robbery or Homicide.   I’ve personally witnessed all of these scenarios playing out in the Winnipeg crime scene.

THE LIE:

The story ends with an inspiring message from Nahanni Fontaine;

“I’m always amazed by the resilience and strength of our people,” Fontaine concluded. “I am in awe of the mothers who continue to go to the vigils, continue to speak out. It’s the courage of our women and our girls that is the beautiful piece of this story. Not that we’re less-than, not that we’re savages. We’re not whores, we’re not prostitutes. Our bodies are not there to absorb every bit of violence. We’re there to shed the light.”

THE TRUTH:

The truth is, Aboriginal women are involved in prostitution, so are white women, asian women, black women…..

It’s their involvement in the sex trade that places them in jeopardy.

It’s a central factor related to causation in the majority of these cases, yet no one wants to acknowledge that factor, not even someone who has a leadership role as a special advisor on the file of Missing & Murdered Women for the Provincial Government.

The unpleasant truth must be accepted.

The divisive, racist, blame game has to end.

THE END GAME:

Racist sensationalism has no place in legitimate journalism.

Mr Turners story is an inflammatory, inaccurate, unbalanced work that is sure to inflame racists attitudes on both side of the fence.

The transparent use of words or phrases for shock value such as “drunken sluts”, “dirty squaws”, “easy squaws” and “drunken squaws” should be seen for what it is.

If the goal in writing the story was to divide our community then I think it may be deemed a success.

Not exactly a piece of responsible journalism in my humble opinion.

I’m all for having a conversation, but lets keep it real.

Could it be that we are all facing an Aboriginal Apocalypse.

Could it be that all Aboriginal people are filled with the same blind racist attitudes and perceptions as the Aboriginal activists and Aboriginal “leaders” who are quoted in this story.

Could it be that the fall out from colonialism will eventually destroy our Aboriginal people.

False accusations of racism, hostility, division, blaming and a culture of victimization will not take us to the promise land.

Leadership, ownership, truth, inclusivity & forgiveness might.

I believe in our Aboriginal people.

FOOTNOTE:

I find it ironic that the majority of the activists and leaders who spewed racist rhetoric in Turners article enjoy Government funded employment that is largely financed by the “racist” white middle class taxpayers so loathed in the article.

Poor white men.

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.kanikanichihk.ca

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/risky-lifestyle-links-28-victims-162452206.html

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/11/03/all-victims-equal-regardless-of-race

HOMICIDE HANGOVER – Escape from Reality

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And now, something completely different.

In the year 2000 I was one of two (2) Constables assigned to the Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Unit.  Prior to 2000, the Homicide Unit was an exclusive club staffed with officers who held the rank of Detective Sergeant.  That was all to change after some forward thinker changed the policy that dramatically expanded the talent pool and opened that previously closed-door.

At this point in my career I was a thirteen (13) year “veteran” and had been exposed to Plain Clothes or Detective work for approximately seven (7) of those years.

This was going to be a great opportunity for me, a chance to investigate the ultimate crime.  As my new Supervisor Thomas “Tommy” Anderson put it, “You just won the lottery.”

That’s very much how I felt, honoured to be selected and fully prepared to bring all that I could to the table.  This was a rare opportunity and I planned on making the most of it.  It was going to be a challenging five-year stint, a real test of endurance as Homicide Investigators often worked more than 24 – 36 hour shifts on a “hot” case before they even considered taking a break.

The previous summer, my wife and I bought an older home with an incredible 1/2 acre lot with dozens of mature oak trees in the peaceful Winnipeg Community of Charleswood.  We had been married for three (3) years and were expecting our first child together.

We were excited to add another child to the mix.  I had two daughters from a previous marriage and we anticipated that the addition of another child would really cement all of our relationships.

As fate would have it, the pregnancy was not viable and we lost our baby shortly after the first trimester.

It was a devastating loss.

We would learn that miscarriages were not at all uncommon.  The pain from our loss tempered by the tremendous amount of support we would receive from our family, friends and coworkers.  Our commitment to each other and our family didn’t waiver and it wasn’t long before my lovely bride was back in the “family way.”

My son Jaxson would be born three (3) months into my new assignment.

Meanwhile, there was no shortage of work in the Homicide Unit.

The exposure to horrific crime scenes can be a mind numbing experience but it was the difficult task of making death notifications that really bothered me the most.

Telling someone the worst possible news can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved.  In can be a gut wrenching experience.  You would have to have ice water running through your veins if you could somehow steel yourself to the shock and pain suffered by family members of murder victims.  I couldn’t help it, I always felt their pain.  The shocking thing to me is the fact that Homicide Investigators don’t receive any formal death notification or grief counseling training.  They just wing it.

Surviving family members, whether consciously or subconsciously, often rely on the Homicide Investigator to help them through the grieving process.

Finding a way to cope with the trauma that comes with Homicide Investigation is very important for the mental health and well-being of the Homicide Investigator and his or her family.

Homicide Investigation is the kind of work that can change you, consume you, eat you up and shatter your faith in humanity, but only if you let it.

It is vital to create a sanctuary for yourself, a peaceful place where you can retreat, void of violence, trauma and stress.

For me, my sanctuary was the garden I was creating at our new home.

I had never been interested in gardening before my assignment to the Homicide Unit but our oversized lot provided a great opportunity to expand my horizons.

As an individual with absolutely no artistic ability, I found that my yard had become a blank canvass and I was inspired to create something beautiful to mitigate that darkness that came from my professional life.

So the journey began.

Forty hour shifts, horrific disembowelments, heinous decapitations, heart breaking death notifications, sleep deprivation, exhaustion and stress all dissipated with a quiet walk in my garden, watering can in hand, breathing in the aromatic gifts that my beautiful garden flowers gave me.

Weeding, watering, nurturing and consuming fresh veggies were all pursuits that helped to rejuvenate me.

Gardening was my medicine and I loved my daily dose.

Now that I am retired, my garden has given me a lifetime hobby.  A pursuit to help treat my Homicide hangover.

I just recently took my gardening to another level with the purchase of a beautiful 8 x 12 Western Red Cedar Greenhouse from Outdoor Living Today…..an awesome company based out of Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

The Greenhouse was shipped to our home and strategically place in our driveway on a pallet with an instruction booklet for assembly that was designed for “not so handy” guys like me.

Two days later I was staring at our new Greenhouse with an extremely warm and fuzzy feeling.

Such a beautiful structure, more like a piece of art accentuating our garden than the functional structure it is.

Erected in early November just in time for our first blizzard of the year, it made for some great photos.

I await spring 2013 with great anticipation.

It will surely be our best gardening year ever.

Meanwhile, back in Murder City, the body count continues to rise…….

LINKS:

If you are looking to add a greenhouse to your landscape, or if you would like to add a garden or storage shed, Outdoor Living Today has a great selection of beautiful structures for you…..check out the link!

(We’re hoping to add the 8 x 8 Garden Shed to our Garden some time next year)

http://www.outdoorlivingtoday.com

PATRICK BRAZEAU – Putting the “Dip” back in “Dipstick”

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If stupidity was currency…..Patrick Brazeau would be a very rich man.

Brazeau recently made headlines in the WFP after he made a comparison between the Missing & Murdered Women epidemic and an inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River in British Columbia.

“If we can have a national inquiry on fish, I’m sure we can give the respect to aboriginal peoples and offer an inquiry” he said according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

His rationale frightens me.

His cavalier attitude regarding inquiries frightens me.

His absolute lack of analytical thinking and common sense frightens me.

The connection between a study on sockeye salmon and the need to have an inquiry into the Missing & Murdered Women crisis is irrelevant, reckless and offensive.

I wonder what kind of analysis Mr Brazeau undertook to arrive at his conclusion that the Government should “offer” an inquiry into this issue.

In fact, I am somewhat perplexed by his suggestion given the fact that an article he wrote on his blog titled “Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women” seems to applaud the Conservative Government for their plan to deal with the issue.

In my analysis, two options exist……Inquiry or Task Force……both have pros & cons;

INQUIRY:

PROS:

  • Will appease affected Communities demands
  • May identify previously unknown issues
  • May propose potential solutions

CONS:

  • Duration – may take up to five or more years to complete
  • Expense – cost will be astronomical
  • Scope – often tends to take on life of its own
  • May or may not have an inclusive approach
  • No authority to implement potential solutions
  • Public Support – sparse
  • Logistics – extremely complex
  • Cause & effects are already widely known

TASK FORCE:

PROS:

  • Duration – potential for immediate action
  • Cost – minuscule in comparison to Inquiry
  • Scope – focused
  • Authority to implement potential solutions
  • Approach – inclusive for all stake holders
  • Higher probability of impact and success
  • Public Support – much wider

CONS:

  • Will not appease affected community

For those who many not know, Brazeau is an Aboriginal Conservative Senator who earns a living compliments of the Canadian tax paying public.

His competence is often questioned, in fact, reports indicate that Brazeau has the poorest performance record of any member of the Senate.

Between June 2011 & April 2012 Brazeau missed 25% of the Senate seatings, was absent from 31% of the meetings of the Standing Committee on Human Rights of which he is the deputy chair, and also missed an astounding 65% of the meetings at the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.

Brazeau earns north of $130,000 per year excluding “allowances” and is the youngest Senator in the current Senate.  As such, he can hold his seat in the Senate until he reaches age 75, that takes us to around the year 2049.

He recently called Ottawa based reporter Jennifer Ditchburn a “bitch” on Twitter after she reported on his poor performance record.

The conflict forever captured on the internet…..

It’s a real shame that the Canadian Tax Payers are on the hook for paying the salary of someone as unprofessional, incompetent and irresponsible as Patrick Brazeau.

Brazeau aside, I remain encouraged by the efforts of people in our Aboriginal Community who recently attended the National Aboriginal Woman’s Summit held at the Thunderbird House in Winnipeg.  The main focus of the conference was to discuss Missing & Murdered Aboriginal women.

My hope for a resolution elevated by the temperate words uttered by Eric Robinson, Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs who is quoted as saying “What’s a national inquiry going to produce? It’s going to cost a lot of money for one thing.”  “I’m not saying I’m opposed to that. I’ve got to hear from the other provinces as to what they feel about that. A national task force, would that make more sense?  Is that more feasible?”

The conference was adjourned with a commitment to reconvene at a later date to continue the discussion.

Change always starts with a conversation.

Urban Dictionary:

Dipstick:

  • One who has the intelligence of an oil dipstick in a car.  Usually the oil is dirty and “not to bright” much like the person being described
  • A slang term for a person who is dumb
  • Used as a substitute for “dipshit” whenever that particular word would be deemed inappropriate

UPDATE:

FEB 7 2013 LINK: BRAZEAU IN HOT WATER!

LINKS:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/if-fish-deserve-inquiry-so-do-missing-women-senator-177604001.html

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/missing-women-focus-of-meeting-176724931.html

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/missing-aboriginal-women-a-tragedy-176914611.html

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/no-unity-on-plan-for-slain-missing-177072961.html

http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/11/02/missing-and-murdered-women-not-the-only-issue-at-summit/

Brazeau blog  http://senatorpatrickbrazeau.blogspot.ca/2010/11/missing-and-murdered-aboriginal-women.html

PUBLIC SAFETY – A Dirty Word in Canadian Justice

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I hate being right…..

Especially when it comes to ominous predictions regarding public safety.

Jamie Charles Grieves-28 years, a repeat violent offender and Bloods street gang member released from the Stony Mountain Penitentiary on November 2nd, 2012 after serving a four year sentence for arson. (Winnipeg Sun October 31st, 2012)

(Well…..it wasn’t really a four year sentence……it was a three year sentence after Grieves was the beneficiary of double time credit for one year.)

Grieves has an extensive criminal record for violent offences and has spent the vast majority of his adult life in jail.

His recent jail stint came as a result of a gang related incident where he tried to torch a rival gang members residence by pouring gasoline on his porch…..

In 2007, Grieves viciously attacked a security guard in Oxford House, Manitoba, his home community.  The victim suffered significant injuries that resulted from being beaten with a hammer and a metal bar.

While the victim convalesced, Grieves and his fellow thugs conspired to kill him to avoid prosecution.

All of Grieves violent assaults were allegedly unprovoked…..

To underscore his underachiever status, Grieves failed to participate in any of the diverse prison programs designed to promote rehabilitation……

According to Court documents, Grieves has no work experience, no marketable skills, no vocational training and he has not developed a work ethic.

Grieves is such a bad seed that he was banished from his own community.

To the Crowns credit, they targeted Grieves for further supervision and were successful in their bid to have him released on a court order that required him to abide by eleven conditions that included a curfew and restrictions prohibiting him from attending any bars or vendors.  The order to be in effect for a period of two years.

Supervision to be the responsibility of GRASP. (Manitoba’s Gang Response and Suppression Program.)

After reading the article I remarked to my wife “I wonder how long its going to take before this asshole breaches his release conditions and ends up back in jail?”

Well, call me Kreskin, but it only took a matter of days for him to blow it.

Subject at large, warrant issued, burden placed on Law Enforcement to locate, public at risk until he is apprehended.

This case illustrates a number of failings of Canadian Justice;

  • Grieves…..the undeserving beneficiary of the two for one credit providing him a ridiculous discount on Justice  (These discounts still being given on retroactive cases.)
  • The receipt of relatively light sentences for violent, repeat, habitual offenders like Grieves for their horrendous violent crimes.
  • The release of extremely high risk offenders, like Grieves, on an unsuspecting vulnerable public.
  • The onerous burden placed on Law Enforcement to supervise high risk violent offenders like Grieves.
  • The equally onerous burden placed on Law Enforcement to locate and  apprehend such offenders when they inevitably breach conditions of their release.

Lastly, it seems patently unfair that Oxford House can banish one of its rabid dogs from their community yet the citizens of Winnipeg have no say regarding the release of unpredictable, violent, habitual offenders into ours.

Public Safety……a dirty word in Canadian Justice.

LINKS:

Winnipeg Sun article by James Turner:

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/10/31/gangster-thug-expected-to-live-in-winnipeg-after-being-released-from-stony-mountain-institution

Winnipeg Sun article;

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/11/06/cops-seek-violent-gangster-arsonist-for-breaching-bail

MURDER CITY – Body Count Rising!

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There’s been quite a bit of interest in the press lately regarding Winnipeg’s status as the violent crime and murder capital of Canada….

Lost in the headlines is the steady rise in unsolved Homicides.

These numbers tell a story…..and its not a good one;

YEAR     MURDERS     UNSOLVED     SOLVENCY RATE

2011             41                        4                             90.24 %

2010            22                        5                             77.27 %

2009            30                       4                              90 %

2008            29                       6                              79.31 %

2007            26                       5                               80.76%

2006            22                       1                               95.45 %

2005            25                       2                               92 %

2004            34                       0                               100 %

2003            19                       3                                84.21 %

2002            21                       1                                 95.23 %

2001            18                       3                                 83.33 %

2000           17                        0                                100 %

1999            14                        0                                100 %

When you do the analysis several interesting facts emerge:

  • Police reported a record number of Homicides in 2011
  • The Homicide rate in the City of Winnipeg fluctuates but has clearly increased over the last fourteen (14) years
  • From the six-year period 2000-2005 the Homicide Unit reported a total of nine (9) unsolved homicides
  • From the six-year period 2006-2011 the Homicide Unit reported a total of twenty-five (25) unsolved homicides
  • These figures represent an unsolved Homicide case increase of 177.77% during the last six years
  • The Homicide Unit has not had a 100% solvency rate for over seven (7) years

The downward solvency rates appear to be a trend that is continuing in 2012…..

So far this year the WPS has reported a total of twenty-seven (27) murders.  At last count, six (6) of these killings have gone unsolved.  This represents an approximate solvency rate of 77%.

I will venture to shed some light on some of the obvious and maybe not so obvious reasons…..

It is clear that the constantly changing criminal landscape in the City of Winnipeg is one of the major factors that are driving these numbers.  The impact of Organized Crime and Criminal Street Gangs locked in turf wars in their struggle for illicit drug trafficking market share cannot be ignored.  Homicides involving these groups are much more prevalent and are extremely difficult to solve.  Anti Police sentiments run deep in the psyche of these criminals and their associates who seldom cooperate with Police investigations.  Witness tampering and intimidation have proven to increase the degree of difficulty.

Organized Crime, street gangs and involvement in the drug trade are believed to be contributing factors in a number of unsolved killings in the City this year.

These are some of the obvious reasons.

As much as these hard realities impact solvability…..it is becoming more apparent that ineffective Police Management is becoming a contributory factor.

These not so obvious reasons require “insight” into this not so transparent organization.

In the spring of 2011, the WPS Homicide Unit suffered significant challenges as a result of extremely high investigator turnover.  This debilitating turnover was completely avoidable but became a reality as a result of Police Managements adherence to counterproductive transfer policies and ill-considered supervisory changes by a Commander who was determined to take the Homicide Unit in a “new direction.”

This “new direction” has ensured that the WPS Homicide Unit has had to endure and adapt to constant change.

The departure from universally accepted investigative standards such as front loading new cases can impact homicide investigation in a profoundly negative way.  The ripple effects can be measured throughout the investigation and can add significant man hours to files that are not resolved in the “First 48.”    Less obvious are intangible results that are difficult to measure such as the impact of inexperienced Supervision, lack of transfer of institutional knowledge and low morale…..all undeniable realities experienced by WPS Homicide Investigators in the last two years.

Homicide Investigation is extremely difficult, strenuous and stressful work.  Those who indulge in it require support…….support from their chain of command……unfortunately, the individuals currently occupying those chairs were recently proven to dreadfully lack essential leadership qualities.   When one has been exposed to be devoid of virtues such as honesty and integrity it makes it virtually impossible to lead or inspire your workers.

Homicide is a difficult crime to predict and is a difficult crime to prevent…….that said, these factors do not remove the responsibility of the Police Service to create and support an effective Homicide Investigations Unit.

The WPS has an obligation to staff the Homicide Unit with the most qualified, experienced, brightest, battle tested and committed Police Officers that it has to offer…..however, these principles should also apply to the “Leadership” selected to oversee such workers…..unfortunately…..we know that this is simply not the current reality.

The Service also has an obligation to ensure that policies and procedures are supportive and not a detriment to Homicide Unit operations……a concept that seems to be beyond the comprehension of the decision makers.

A new Crime Division Commander……imposing his “unique” vision on the Homicide Unit……”out of the box” thinking……taking the Homicide Unit in a “new direction, with fresh ideas”……..inserting a new supervisor  with no previous Homicide experience…….a trailblazer who stated that he was prepared to accept the consequences if his controversial”vision” failed……..

A year later the inexperienced supervisor discreetly moved out of the Homicide Unit to coordinate the Shaun Lamb serial killer “tip line”…….more change…..more transition…..more uncertainty.

When you analyze the global results of the new “leadership” in the Crime Division……it seems to me that the radical experiment has failed…..

Meanwhile, back in Murder City….the body count continues to rise…..

RELATED LINKS:

July 6th, 2011 Inner Workings of Police Unveiled

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/inner-workings-of-police-unveiled-125063059.html

July 7th, 2011 Police say Officers Transfer Rocked Homicide Unit

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/police-say-officers-transfer-rocked-homicide-unit-125129584.html

July 8th, 2011 Boss Defends Homicide Detectives Transfer

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/boss-defends-homicide-detectives-transfer-125201659.html

July 9th, 2011 Homicide Unit Boss Admits Misleading Cops

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/homicide-unit-boss-admits-misleading-cops-125259789.html