Friday, May 27, 2005

Talkin' Shop

Interesting to see that the Chiefs are meeting in Calgary at their annual knees-up and bun toss hosted this year by Jack Beaton. Even more interesting is the CBC story headlined on Prime Time Crime saying a significant topic of discussion will be how to stay out of trouble. ( Police chiefs meet to talk controversy)

Considering the morass Calgary Chief Beaton has immersed himself in this last year or so, one hopes he attends all the seminars and pays special attention to the speakers. But, in the event he dosen't, allow me to provide some free advice.

If a bunch of serving members file lawsuits against another, senior police officer alleging fraud and other criminal offences, take it seriously, investigate the matter thoroughly and in the interest of protecting the police department's public image, place the officer under the cloud of suspicion on suspension until the matter has been dealt with and the officer has either cleared his or her name or the matter has been proven.

This simple piece of advice also extends to other allegations like racism practiced by senior officers to subordinate staff. Or, for example, if another senior officer points a gun at a subordinate officer, don't try and sweep the incident under a rug.

I know this sounds basic, but Beaton's history in the top chair seems to have missed some of these more rudimentary points.

Oh yeah, there's another simple way of keeping out of harm's way for a senior police manager - tell the truth. I know, I know, pretty simple stuff. But you'd be amazed how often this simple rule of thumb seems to be foreign to certain members of the police establishment attending this conference.

The media, in whatever form, is not to be feared any more than the truth itself. Every organization, regardless, has its problem child or children. The law of averages is what it is. When a bad apple is discovered in the barrel, acknowledge it. Deal with him or her fairly and appropriately and then tell the public what you have done. You'd be surprised how supportive the public would be if you treated them like intelligent people.

The police do not need spin doctors. Doing the job of protecting the public speaks for itself. Every police officer subjects his or her self to danger every shift and their actions don't need to be spun. Equally, if a rogue officer screws up, explain the facts and show the public what you have done to rectify the situation, discipline the transgressor and take steps to ensure there is no repeat performance.

The cops at the sharp end of things need to be supported in any senior manager's actions, discussions and decisions. Protecting the bad apples and supporting the carpet cops is not the way to earn the loyalty of the street cops who do the hard work day in and day out.

Being a leader in a police service is all about being everyone's Chief, not feathering the nest of one's cronies. It's about being fair. It's about working hard, day in and day out to make your city a better place and to support the cops who will walk into hell to make the city a safer place.

As with any high profile public position, the Chief will have supporters and detractors. But, the job is about rising above the fray and doing one's best to fulfill the obligations to one's oath of office.

Oddly enough, if, as a chief or other senior police manager, you follow these simple steps, you do not need to hold conferences to discuss ways to keep the mud off your shoes. You manage properly not to walk in it.

Leo Knight

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Plus ca change

"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

Like many of you I was glued to a TV during the vote in the House of Commons today to see if it might actually be possible to topple the most corrupt government this country has ever seen. And, just for the record, I include the BC NDP Glen Clark government in the '90s, in the analysis prior to making that statement.

But, at the end of the day, the Prime Minister Paul Martin suceeded, after doing everything in his Faustian gymnastics to cling to the reins of power. And I, like many of you, had to work to stifle the gag reflex as I watched Chuck Cadman do the unthinkable.

Now, let me say at this point that I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chuck Cadman. And, I don't say for a moment that he succumbed to any amount of bribing from the desparate Liberals. But, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he turned his back on doing the right thing for this country.

At least Cadman can claim the higher ground in doing what he did by claiming he followed the wishes of his constituents. It is not the case for the rest involved in the travesty foisted upon this country.

Whether we are talking about the shameless budget change to the tune of over $4 billion to buy the affections of NDP Leader Jack Layton, or the office of a cabinet minister to purchase the services of the latter day Mata Hari, Belinda Stronach, the actions are clear. Paul Martin, would do anything, pay any price, to hang on to the power afforded to him in the office of the Prime Minister.

So why is it that the politically deluded seem to think it is Stephan Harper who is power hungry?

Equally, how is it that the mainstream media have portrayed Harper as making a "deal with the devil" in siding with the Bloc Quebecois in voting against the systemic corruption and theft of taxpayers dollars? Not utilizing the Bloc's 54 seats to try and stop the insanity of the Liberal corrupt chokehold on this nation is not climbing into bed with the separatists as has been painted by the Liberal spinners, but is nothing more than the reality of the Opposition trying to rid this nation of a cancer. To not consider the option would mean the Liberals might as well have the majority this country would not give them.

Unfortunately they failed. And the thieves will continue to have their hands in our wallets as they steal our money and waste it on ridiculous socialist causes or funnel it through to Special Interest Groups that achieve nothing more than having their constituents give over their vote in return for Liberal lolly.

On the same day as this travesty in faux democracy played out in Ottawa, Her Majesty the Queen, was paying tribute to the four Mounties who made the ultimate sacrifice in Mayerthorpe last March, doing their job in service to this country.

Belinda Stronach claims she jumped into bed with the thieving Liberals out of a sense of duty for her country. She doesn't have a clue. Have another read of the quote from Ronald Reagan at the top of this to understand what she was actually doing.

She collected her lolly as the newly-minted minister responsible for HRDC, and ironically, for the ethical monitoring of activities following the Gomery report.

I am truly disgusted by the lot of them.

Leo Knight

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Another good cop held down

You're kidding me! What, is the Winnipeg Chief Constable taking lessons from Calgary's Jack Beaton? The story headlined on Prime Time Crime about the Staff Sergeant going from hero to zero for not telling some biker schmuck that some other schmuck said someone wanted him dead is another example of an out of touch chief making what appears to be a knee-jerk decision to avoid criticism and instead inviting more. Unfortunately, he seems to have hurt a good cop in the process.

Does Jack Ewatski actually expect that every time a cop hears some asshole in custody blows his mouth off about so and so "is a marked man" or "he's gonna get it" or whatever nonsense comes out of their flapping gums, that the investigator has to go running to the guy and tell him what the jagoff said? Give me a break.

What's with chiefs named Jack?

Quite apart from anything else, bikers, wannabee gangsters, wiseguys and pretty much anyone else involved in organized crime knows that somebody wants to kill them and pretty much, sooner or later, someone will. Or they spend they waning days in jail. It goes with the territory. And frankly, society doesn't miss them when they get whacked from this mortal coil.

So, why destroy a good cop's career over something like this? Unless there's a lot more than meets the eye in what has been published in the media on this file, the Winnipeg Chief is doing a disservice to not only the member involved, but to the citizens of the community he serves.

And for what?

Leo Knight

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The bath is getting crowded

Well, as witch hunts go, Calgary Chief Jack Beaton certainly doesn't hold back. The story headlined on Prime Time Crime's front page today, Chief won't give up the hunt demonstrates just how out of control he is.

Is it possible he does not realize that by his actions he is proving the Standfirm group were accurate in their assessment? They talked about bullying and retribution and failing to adhere to the Core Principles espoused, but apparently not practiced by this chief.

I was in Calgary yesterday and had to covertly meet with a couple of Calgary cops. They described a climate of fear pervading the department. Members are trying to burn off lieu time hours, taking days off, calling in sick, leaving early and generally doing anything to avoid the Beaton freight train. Said one officer, "Paranoia is running rampant in HQ with many trying to avoid the Chief and his deputies at all costs. "

And it didn't stop there. "The climate of fear and terror in CPS is enormous. I've never seen anything like it in my life!" And why? Because Beaton can't take criticism that certainly appears to have been well-founded. And, he is proving every day just how accurate that criticism was.

And what's with the President of the Calgary Police Association? Let's take a look at the quote attributed to him in the Global stoy. Here's the quote:

"There appeared to be about 15 people that were regular contributors," says Koenig. "Now, 15 people out of 2,200 employees is a pretty small amount and they were the same complaints from the same people. If we were to see a couple of hundred different names on there, then there would be cause for concern but at this point it does seem to be a rather small group."

Well, in the first place, I would wonder how he knows there are only 15 people involved. Certainly, that number has never been discussed in any other forum. Inside information perhaps? And what does he mean when he says if there were a couple of hundred it would be a different matter? He had well over 400 responses to his own survey last summer that showed 70 per cent had lost confidence in the chief and senior management.

I think it is also interesting that any police association is prepared to stand by when senior management are conducting a witch hunt and apparently, is prepared to say 15 members are not a cause for concern. It's a bloody great concern and Koenig should be roasted by the membership for his malfeasance in not standing up to this bullying style of management. Or perhaps I should say cooperation. For it certainly looks to me like he has rolled over and allowed Beaton to scratch his belly like an old hound dog.

As an aside, where has the Calgary Sun been in all of this? To the best of my knowledge they have barely noticed this story. Why? Every other member of the mainstream media has covered the story and the Calgary Herald, A Channel and CBC have even committed their lawyers to getting the files unsealed. What happened to the Sun's duty to the good citizens of Calgary? Or are they drinking the same bathwater as Beaton and Koenig?

Just asking.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

What's up Jack?

"A real leader faces the music even when he doesn't like the tune."
- Anon.

I really don't get it.

Calgary's Chief Constable, Jack Beaton, has acted like a petulant schoolboy right from square one in his dogged pursuit of those behind the websites critical of his administration. And even in his hollow victory first announced in this space on Friday, when his pressure tactics finally caused webmistress Jann Vahey to capitulate and make a deal to get out from underneath the potential financial ruin a battle against City Hall might necessitate, he issued a press release saying he wasn't done yet. The witchhunt apparently, is far from over.

In the intervening days, a police constable, Taufiq Shah, has come forward and admitted that he delivered the offending criticisms published by Vahey and in doing so, painted a huge target on his back for a vindictive Chief.

Shah has filed previous complaints against a patrol Sergeant and the Chief for failing to appropriately investigate the matter. He has been on stress leave for far too long as a result. He doesn't want to be, but what choice does he have?

He was subject to racist taunts, called things like "terrorist" and "sand nigger." He even had a service weapon pointed directly at him by a superior officer, I'm told, in the parade room of the station. One hardly wonders why he might not feel entirely comfortable with strapping on a nine mil and going through a door hoping his sergeant has his back.

Shah has a Muslim name and he is brown skinned. But, in reality he is a Morman and travels annually to Utah, to Salt Lake, where the tabernacle of his religion sits. He is a family man, married to the fiercely defensive Rhonda. They have four kids. He worked in patrol and just wanted to do a good job protecting the citizens of his city and providing for his family.

Shah was pronounced fit for duty after being on disability. He tried to go back, but the Service insisted he see the department counselling service who immediately said he wasn't fit for a full return to duty. He was going to regular counselling to deal with the stresses and threats he felt.

Today, according to a police officer I spoke with, one day after he came out publicly, Shah went to his regular counselling session and was sent home.

This is how Jack Beaton defends the hard-working men and women who toil in the mean streets protecting the citizens? Which, I might add, would seem diametrically opposed to the stated "Core Values" of the service itself. But that is all just semantics I suppose.

The real battle now that Shah has clambored out of the closet of fear, comes from Beaton continuing to try and identify the other officers who also contributed to the information pool that Shah wove into the editorial content posted on the internet that drew Beaton's rage. And, so too, I suspect, the four officers who were interviewed by CBC's Rick Boguski in shadow and with their voices altered.

Beaton said he wasn't done in the wake of the Vahey settlement revelations. Shah stood up in front of the assembled media and said, "Enough."

But I fear nothing but full retribution, not "healing" will be enough for Beaton. For whatever his public personnae has been thus far in his reign, the good citizens of Calgary "don't know Jack."

Leo Knight