A Sinking Ship, A $10.00 House and Phil Sheegle

Councillors Leave EPC

In the last year 1 councilor abandoned his position on EPC and now another 2 have announced their intention to leave.  That brings to mind the following one liner:  I’ve never seen this number of rats jumping off a ship unless it was sinking or on fire”.

Mayor’s house purchase in Arizona

Re Mayor Katz’s purchase  of a house in Scottsdale Arizona for 10 dollars and ‘other valuation consideration’.  Until such time as the Mayor explains what that other valuable consideration was we should not conclude that it did not involve Shindico.

Phil Sheegl’s qualifications to be CAO

Back when Phil Sheegl was named CAO the Mayor made the following comment when Sheegl’s qualifications were questioned by Councillor Jenny Gerbasi.

“When it comes to ability, intelligence and integrity, Coun. Gerbasi wouldn’t even qualify to be in the same building, let alone the same room, as Phil Sheegl”.

Well, they are no longer in the same room or  even the same building.  Councillor Gerbasi is still in the same room (council chamber) in the same building (city hall) but Phil Sheegl is long gone, having decided to leave the building first.  Last laugh definitely goes to Councillor Gerbasi.    As one of my high school teachers used to say ‘he who laughs last laughs best’.

What’s In a Relationship

The Winnipeg Police Service has replaced its longstanding motto,  Community Commitment with “Building Relationships“.

The following are some comments that I’ve heard about the Winnipeg Police “Building Relationships” motto that add some humour to an otherwise serious subject.

Scenario 1

Upon being arrested and placed in the back of a patrol unit a suspect  was heard to say “I don’t like where this relationship is going“.

Scenario 2

In June of last  year a suspect attempted to end his relationship with police when he escaped from a holding room in the District 6 Police Station.  The relationship was rekindled when police re-arrested the suspect.

Scenario 3

Another suspect  thought his relationship with police was going sour.  Police managed to  spice  up the relationship with a long burst of pepper spray.

Scenario 4

A recently tasered inner city resident described his relationship with the Police Service as  “electrifying“.

Scenario 5

The Professional Standards Unit, formerly known as the Internal Investigation Unit,  could also be called the  Failed Relationships Unit.

Scenario 6

One recently convicted gang member doing time at Stony Mountain Penitentiary described his relationship with police as “rocky“.

Scenario 7

Now that the Winnipeg Police Service has entered the relationship building business, eHarmony, the online dating service, will no doubt respond to this encroachment  by changing its motto to   “To Serve and Protect“.

Scenario 8

One repeat criminal offender described his relationship with police as “ long-term and on going“.

If you think policing business should be strictly ‘business’, lighten up.  There is a lot of humour in policing.  As one former Chief often said ‘you need to get a least one good laugh a day”.

Marijuana Laws Softened in California

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approves downgrading possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

Citing budget limitations imposed on police and the courts Governor Schwarzenegger (I still have trouble putting Governor and Schwarzenegger in the same sentence) has approved legislation that downgrades simple possession of marijuana to the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

Simple possession is no longer a crime and will not result in a criminal record in California.  Cultivation and distribution of marijuana remain on the books as criminal offences.

In November Californians will vote on Proposition 19 which if approved would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Downgrading possession of an ounce or less to an infraction may result in erosion of support for Proposition 19 now that simple possession is no longer a crime.

Officers to Display Names on Uniforms

In a move designed to help rebuild trust and confidence in their local police service, police in Leicestershire U.K., (2300 officers 1200 staff) will display not only their service numbers but also their name on their epaulettes starting in February of 2010. 

A similar approach that would have seen Winnipeg police officers wear name tags was proposed by city councilors in Winnipeg in the early to mid- 1980’s.  The move was opposed by some officers and their union (Winnipeg Police Association) citing officer safety concerns.  The plan was subsequently abandoned.

National Standards for Taser Use

Taser Standards on the Way 

Federal Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has announced that a group of federal officials and law enforcement experts have been tasked with devising national standards for Taser use.  

Van Loan stressed the importance of a standard approach applicable across the country indicating that he favours the guidelines adopted by the RCMP which restrict Taser use to situations where there is a threat to police or a member of the public. At present individual police agencies establish guidelines for Taser use, and those guidelines vary from one jurisdiction to another. 

 This move by the Federal Government is supported by the Canada Safety Council.

Baltimore Police to Walk the Talk

More beat officers to hit the street in Baltimore 

In Canada and the United States most police chiefs will admit that, ideally, they would like to dedicate more resources to foot patrol.  However, citing high violent crime rates and high volumes of call for service, few demonstrate the strength of their convictions. 

Frederick Bealefeld III the Police Commissioner in Baltimore  is determined to buck that trend.  Baltimore is adding 50 officers to its complement and their assignment will be to patrol beats, on foot.  Bealefeld seems to be adopting a long term view whereby policing is not just about emergency response to crimes that have already taken place.  The move back to foot patrols is intended to strengthen the ties between the community and the police and build community capacity.

United States 2009 Preliminary Crime Stats

On December 21st. the FBI released its preliminary crime statistics for the United States for 2009.  The highlights are: 

  • Violent crime (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault) decreased by 4.4% 
    • The largest decease occurred in cities with populations of 1 million or more (7%)
    • Small cities with populations of 10,000 to 24,999 saw an increase of 1.7% 
  • Property crime decreased; motor vehicle theft by 18.7%, larceny-theft by 5.3% and burglary by 2.5%.
  • Reported arsons declined b 8.2 % 

These figures are based on data submitted by 11,700 American law enforcement agencies.

Ban on Body Armour Overturned in California

Following a dramatic shootout between police and 2 heavily armed suspects wearing body armor in North Hollywood in 1997 the California State Legislature passed a law banning violent felons from owning body amour.  Last week the California Court of appeal overturned the law citing issues with how the term body amour is defined in the legislation.  The Los Angles Police Protective League the union representing LAPD officers will be asking the state attorney general  to file an appeal before the California Supreme Court.