Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We Believe You

There has been much talk online, on the street, throughout Canada and around the world about sexualized violence in the wake of several high-profile incidents.

Much of this talk has focused around the hesitation of reporting incidents of sexualized violence to police. Although we do not have the information or jurisdiction to assist in a criminal investigation into these specific allegations, we want to assure you, we are hearing these powerful conversations. These matters are often complex and may involve several factors beyond the scope of policing, but we have one simple message to ANYONE who has been a victim of intimate partner or sexualized violence:

We Believe You.

We believe you because we know that it has taken an immense amount of courage for you to come forward. We understand that there are things far beyond a policing scope that concern you. We also understand that this is likely one of the most difficult times of your life and that this is not an easy decision.

We believe you because we know sexualized violence is unbelievably underreported.  We know that the amount of people who come forward are only a small fraction of the larger population that has experienced sexualized or domestic violence. We know that these cases are even further underreported in the LBGQT communities and we know that coming forward is difficult.

We believe you and you have a say in the direction of sexually violent investigations. We work closely with everyone who has been victimized by sexualized violence to create a safe space.  We work hand-in-hand with teams of professionals who are there to help. From the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre to the caring and professional staff at the Island Health Authority, our focus is on your safety and care.

We believe you, and, with our partners, are there to support you because the journey will not be easy. Your participation in interviews, collecting evidence, forwarding charges and possibly testifying will be challenging. We are here. Our support does not end at the conclusion of the investigation. We will be there for the whole process, and our partners at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre will be there as well if you wish. 

We believe you and even if we can’t gather enough evidence for charge approval, we believe you. The bar is set high for both charge approval and for conviction and rightfully so, but know that we believe you. Even if the charge is not approved, we will have the information and evidence lodged here and this may assist in future investigations.

We are a team of 243 sworn and 108 professional support staff who are here for you.  We also have a team of dedicated investigators in our Special Victims Unit and encourage you to reach out and speak with us.

We believe you.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexualized or domestic violence, please contact us. Call our investigators through the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654. If, for any reason, you believe your complaint is not being addressed, contact the Sergeant in charge of VicPD’s Special Victims unit directly through the non-emergency line of 250-995-7654.

Please also know that the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is here to help as well. They can be reached, 24-hours, at 250-383-3232. In cases of spousal assault, the Spousal Assault Victim Services can be reached at 250-356-1201 or other resources at or 1-800-563-0808.


Sgt. Kristi Ross, Sergeant in charge of VicPD's Special Victims Unit was the guest of Gregor Cragie on CBC's 'On the Island' today. You can listen to her full interview here: 

Friday, September 19, 2014

GUEST BLOG by Cst. Eric LeQuesne | Five Days in Kelowna, The Canadian Police Canine Championships

Five Days in Kelowna, The Canadian Police Canine Championship 2014

Read the VicPD official announcement here or listen in on Soundcloud.

Tuesday, September 9th:

It is Tuesday night, and I am packing up my suitcase getting ready to go to Kelowna for the Canadian Police Canine Championship (CPCA). As I am getting ready, my daughter, who is just weeks away from turning three, is also getting a bag packed and ready to go to Nana’s house for a sleepover. I will be leaving at the crack of dawn the next day and my wife is also working a day shift. The little one tells me that she wants me to pack something of hers to bring to Kelowna with me, so she gets me her favorite item in the world.... a stick from our front yard that she has brought inside from one of our many excursions to the park. I laugh, that out of the dozen toys and stuffed animals she has, she chooses a stick, I of course pack it and take it with me to Kelowna, and maybe it will be my lucky stick.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014:

Five in the morning is when I wake up in order to get loaded and make the first ferry from Victoria to Vancouver, starting the journey to Kelowna. As I am clearing the fog in my head, I get PSD Diesel out of his kennel, let him out for a nature break and feed him breakfast. He is wide awake, running, jumping, and whining in excitement. He has no idea where we are going, or what we are doing, he is just happy to be going in the truck and hopefully getting to work. He could really teach me a thing or two about waking up in the morning. 

Diesel and I head to Cst. Ewer’s house to load up PSD Diesel into a kennel in the back of a dog truck with PSD Bondo riding in the main kennel and head out to the ferry. Sorry to Cst. Ewer’s neighbours for the barking in the morning, Bondo and Diesel were just excited to see each other.

As we arrive at the ferry, there are a lot of tired eyes and coffees being consumed in the line-up. No one more tired than Cst. McLeod and PSD Uno who had just worked all night and had drove straight from work to the ferry. It is decided that I will drive Cst. McLeod and Uno to Kelowna to allow them to sleep.

After a four-plus hour drive, with a brief pit stop at the Tourist information centre in Merritt B.C. (where I highly recommend you try the samosas) we arrive in Kelowna. The parking lot is loaded with police dog vehicles from all over B.C and Alberta. Hopefully the other guests at the hotel like dogs, because when one started barking in the parking lot they all started barking.

The first night is a meet and great with all the other handlers from across the country. I learn that we will be competing against teams from: Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Regina, Vancouver, Saanich and the RCMP. Further there are teams from CBSA and both federal and provincial corrections that will be competing in either drug or bomb detection.

The next day will be the CPCA annual general meeting as well as team bonding activities with the competition starting on Friday.

Friday, September 12, 2014:

Friday morning has arrived and Diesel and I start with the tracking competition. To say I was nervous this morning would be an understatement. Diesel and I have put in countless hours training for tracking as I believe it is the bread and butter of what a police dog team do. As a K9 team you are usually called to a scene for wanted people, or a high risk missing person or child and all eyes are on you and your dog to locate them.

Now I am at a competition being judged on those hours and hours of training, knowing that Diesel and I have only been on the road since this past January, and we are competing against teams that have three to five years of service under their belts.

While we are driving to the venue I am tempted to give Diesel a pep talk, I bounce back and forth between putting on the Rocky soundtrack, or quoting some lines from movies but as I look back at him pacing in the kennel of the dog truck I know he is ready to go; just as he is always ready to go. Now that I have checked my nerves we roll up to the tracking venue for our 10:40 a.m. start time. I’m ready to get the dog out of the truck and track, only to be told there is a delay and we have to wait… time for the nerves to come back. Now that I have to wait, I check my pocket to ensure that I have my lucky stick with me.

Almost two hours later I am on the field with Diesel and ready to go. I put him in his harness, put his tracking line on and assist him out of the truck. We walk to the judges to get our instructions. 
Although I’m nervous, I can assure you Diesel is not. He is pulling like a mad man to get on the field. He’s jumping, barking, whining. He knows we are at the tracking field and he knows what we are there to do. We get our start point and off we go! Diesel is pulling hard into the track and I’m behind. As the track comes to an end Diesel is exhausted. It is almost 25 degrees on the field at that time, and he just worked his butt off. I give him a ton of praise and load him into the truck for a much needed water break, leaving the field knowing that the first event is completed, but that I will have to wait till Sunday to find out how we did. I started the dog course with Diesel in September 2013 and one year later I am still in awe of his ability to track.

That afternoon it is onto a building search scenario. The scenario is that an office building has been broken into and that the suspect, or suspects, is still inside. It is a judged event and we only have 15 minutes to search the entire building. Diesel locates two “suspects” hiding in the building by sitting outside of the closed doors they are hiding behind and barking. I bring Diesel back to me and call out the suspects who are taken out of the building by the judges. Diesel and I also located a weapon inside the building and conclude the scenario.

We made it through day one.

Saturday, September 13

Day two consists of an evidence search scenario in the morning and a compound search in the afternoon. The evidence search is in a massive towing yard and the scenario is that you are called to the scene of a violent crime and you need to located a piece, or pieces, of evidence… and of course you only have ten minutes to do it. After a frantic search around cars, a rusted old truck, some prickle pushes, boats and boat trailers, Diesel locates one piece of evidence. I have no idea if there was more, and if there was more, how many more, but we walk back to the truck knowing that we found one piece and we had a desire to do better in the afternoon.

The afternoon is a compound search scenario. Similar to the building search scenario, a compound has been broken into by an unknown number of suspects and they are still within the scenario.  After searching for almost 15 minutes Diesel locates two suspects and two weapons associated to the suspects and we call it a day.

After two successful days at the competition, Sunday brings the public day, where people from Kelowna come to watch you and your dog work.

Sunday, September 14:

Public day starts at seven in the morning with a breakfast for the handlers and judges at the Apple Bowl Stadium. Public day was broken down into three events: Obedience, Agility, and Criminal Apprehension. It was a beautiful day in Kelowna and I expected the crowd to be good for the event, but the community of Kelowna amazed me. The rough estimate is that between 4000 and 5000 people attended the public day event. It was fantastic to see them all there in the stadium supporting us and donating to the BC Children’s Hospital. Diesel and I were in the second group of five dog teams with PSD Bondo and PSD Uno.

The event started with our obedience routine. It is one thing to head to a school field and do obedience with your dog with no one watching. It is a bit more nerve racking when 5000 people are watching you and your dog work. The routine was a bunch of turns, long sits, long downs, recalling the dog and retrieving a reward. Diesel did amazing and I was a very proud dog dad. It was then on to the agility course.

The agility course was comprised of the following obstacles: a tunnel, a table top the dog had to go under, a 5-foot fence, a tire to jump through, a dog walk balance beam and barrels to jump over. Things started well with Diesel going through the tunnel and under the table top. We got to the fence and he looked at me, his eyes saying, “why would I go over top of this when I could just run around it?” I can’t say I blame him for looking for the quickest way through the course, but as we are a team I lifted him up and over the fence. The rest of the routine went well and we finished it with smiles on our faces and a wave to the crowd as they enjoyed watching Diesel work as much as I do.

The crowd loved watching the Criminal Apprehension portion of the day. The crowd was able to see a dog stop on a dime and lay down from a full sprint when directed by their handler; this is prior to making contact with the suspect. They also got to see a dog advance on a violent suspect who had just fired a blank gun in their hand. All dogs did very well in all scenarios, Diesel included.

After the public day was the awards banquet, where you finally get to see how you did in your events. You also get to see if you won a medal, as they are given out to the top five finishers in each scenario. I went to the dog trials to get some experience and to take myself out of my comfort zone and to allow Diesel and I to grow as a team. I knew we would be up against some amazing teams from across the country so I knew competition to finish in the top five of any profile would be tough.
All Victoria Police dogs did amazing at the trials.

All three of us placed in the top five in Criminal Apprehension, with Cst Ewer and Bondo 2nd, Cst McLeod and Uno 3RD and Diesel and I 5th.

Cst McLeod and Uno won the obedience profile and finished 5th in the evidence search.
Diesel and I finished 5th in tracking.

Further, Cst. McLeod and Uno finished second overall for entire competition right behind the eventual winner, Cst. Zielinski and PSD Zeke from our neighbours to the north, the Saanich Police.

The results show the time and effort the entire Victoria Police K9 Unit puts into training these dogs.  We all help each other throughout our time in the unit, and to be rewarded for the hard work is nice.
The entire competition was a great experience, Diesel and I learned a lot, and look forward to entering another competition in the future, in hopes on improving our results.

All Photos Credit:

See their story on the Canadian Police Canine Association Trails here

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We Don't Often Talk of Domestic Violence...

Names have been changed to protect the innocent

Sam first appeared on the police radar at the age of 14. First, there were minor thefts and the occasional drinking of liquor in the company of older, ill intentioned, friends and reports of being missing.

By the time Sam was 16 things were becoming worse. Jenny, Sam’s mother, began reporting Sam’s violence towards her and, on more than one occasion, threw Sam out of the house. Sam claimed the house rules were “too strict” and hamstrung the teenager’s attempts to stay out drinking and carousing all night. 

Police attended to their home six times for similar incidents that summer.

After that Sam was no longer welcome in Jenny’s home. The drinking and violence could not be tolerated and Sam, at 16 years of age, was on the street.

It wasn’t long before Sam became involved in a relationship with Jamie. It was a relationship similar to the one with Jenny, turbulent and laced with violence. Soon they needed the police to attend to “keep the peace”. Jamie’s mother made it perfectly clear that Sam was no longer welcome in the family home. Nobody was willing to provide further details on the demise of the relationship and everyone went their separate ways.

… for a little while.

Jamie called 911 at about one o’clock on a Sunday morning crying and saying that Sam had become physically violent. Jamie had been punched hard in the face and Sam had run away when the police were called.

Sam wasn’t fond of the police. A lot of people like Sam aren’t.

Sam was found not very far away, intoxicated, and arrested for domestic assault.

This was Sam’s first domestic assault charge and so, was released with a future court date and conditions to have no contact with Jamie.

The idea behind these release conditions are to impose a “cooling off” period for everyone involved and to afford them the opportunity to rethink their situation and the dynamics of their relationships. The court order directs these two to not have any contact with each other; it’s there to help with the safety of the victim.

A week later Sam got a drunk and decided to drop in on Jamie, unannounced, and found Jamie in bed with a mutual friend. The time for sober reflection had passed and things quickly deteriorated. Alcohol wasn’t the only contributing factor but by the time police arrived everyone was sporting injuries and yet, nobody was talking about who hit who. When all the evidence, or lack of it, was weighed out Sam was arrested for breaching the “no contact” condition and held for morning court.

Neither charge made it to court though. Jamie refused to cooperate in any way and the assault charge was stayed for lack of evidence. Without the original assault charge substantiated there was no interest in pursuing the breach charge. Sam agreed to be bound by a Peace Bond which detailed a no contact condition with Jamie. Everyone hoped the two would go their separate ways.

We were called again, a week later, for another domestic dispute. When Sam heard the police were on route the thought of driving away, intoxicated, made more sense to Sam than the failed attempt to run away on the previous occasion. Sam was located, the car impounded, and an immediate roadside prohibition issued. Jamie still refused to cooperate and no evidence of a physical assault could be found. Sam was arrested for breaching the Peace Bond.

After this, Sam and Jamie decided to take a break from each other. Sam moved back home with mom but it wasn’t long before Jamie showed up drunk, unwanted, and late one night. The police were called and Jamie was sent away.

Only a few weeks passed before the drinking and abusive language wore thin and the police were called to assist with removing Sam from Jenny’s home again.

With seemingly no place else to go, Sam and Jamie moved back in together.

The neighbours called police not long afterwards to report loud voices, banging, and two people fighting. When the police arrived they found that it was Jamie this time that had tried to strangle Sam. Bruising, consistent with strangulation, was evident on Sam’s throat.

Jamie was arrested for assault and, when sober, was released on court documents to have no contact with Sam. Sam was arrested for breaching the Peace Bond for having contact with Jamie and, when sober, was released with more conditions to have no contact with Jamie.

A month later, and in a new location, police were called for a possible domestic dispute. Upon arrival, Sam and Jamie were found in their new apartment. Both were arrested for breaching their no contact conditions with the other and held in custody for court. No evidence of an assault was found.

A month later, and in a new location, police were called for a possible domestic dispute. This time Sam wasn’t satisfied with just beating Jamie and pulled a knife. Although Jamie wasn’t injured with the knife; Sam was charged with assault, uttering threats, and Assault with a weapon. Jamie was arrested for breaching the no contact order with Sam.

Both were held in custody and police strongly opposed their release due to the escalating violence between the two.

All was quiet for two months until Sam was found walking in the middle of the street, at night, and highly intoxicated, contrary to release conditions, and charged with breach of conditions.

That summer Sam entered into a new relationship with Jessie. We attended for a report of a domestic dispute shortly afterwards but found no evidence of an assault. Jessie had taken off prior to police arrival and wasn’t found for a couple of days. Jessie was uncooperative and refused to provide any details of the incident.

The next call was only a week later because Jessie was threatening to do self-harm with a knife and a stove top. Jessie fled prior to police arrival and Sam appeared uncaring and happy to see Jessie’s back. Jessie was located and cared for accordingly but wasn’t happy about it.

Jessie was slightly more cooperative the next time. They were fighting because the two had recently become engaged but now Sam was leaving the relationship and going back to Jamie. The reported smashing and banging had merely been the destruction of mutual property, no offence in that.

Once the two had ended their relationship Jessie became emotionally unstable and began stalking Sam, sending text messages of curious content, and threatening suicide if Sam didn’t come back. Sam called the police, reported Jessie, and switched the phone off.

Over the next few months Jessie came to realize that the relationship with Sam was over and that life would go on.

Sam and Jessie moved back in together and made plans for the future. A future that included police attending to arrest Sam for badly beating Jamie

Sam, or Samantha, is now 20 years old and has 52 police contacts to her name. The spiral of escalating violence in her relationships shows no sign of dissipating despite police and court intervention. To date she has no criminal convictions for any of the alleged assaults on her boyfriends or her mother.


Victoria PD recognizes that violence in relationships manifests itself in many forms. This blog post is not intended to relate a precise formula or template for how domestic violence situations arise. It is simply one of many complicated stories that our officers have to unravel every day, as they go about their public service duties.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

The Cop

In a slightly different post,  we thought we'd share this audio interview. Sgt. Darrell Fairburn was interviewed for Swan Song Radio, CFUV 101.9FM and gave his interviewer accounts of some of his 20 years serving as police officer.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guest Blogger | 10 Things You Shouldn't do at Road Checks

VicPD's Cst. Graeme Leblanc is guest blogging today with his post "10-Things You Shouldn't do at Road Checks". Cst. Leblanc is very passionate about road safety and was most recently one of the Acting Sergeant's in the Capital Regional District's Integrated Road Safety Unit. Throughout Cst Leblanc's career he has witnessed many of the strange things people will do to try to get out of going through a Road Check. Here is his top 10.

10 Things you shouldn’t do at Road Checks

Drive up with a crack pipe in one hand and a lighter in the other, while you have crack and heroin in your pocket – 14-14130

U-turn prior to a roadblock and flee from police, get caught and end up providing breath samples of 0.26 and 0.27, that’s over 3 times the legal limit. File: 14-197

Pretend you can’t see the officer or the roadblock and drive through without stopping, then flee from police, get caught and end up providing breath samples of .08 and .07.  IRSU File 13-16

Have a beer in your hand as you’re driving up to the roadblock.  When confronted by the officer, put the beer in the center console and deny any knowledge.

As you are driving up to a police roadblock, forget to stop, smash into the vehicle in front of you at 50 km/h, pushing that car into a third vehicle.  This all happens because you are so hammered you have trouble walking.  Police have to physically remove you from the vehicle and place you into the police car.  Pretend you can’t speak English.  Refuse to provide a breath sample, blah, blah, blah.  IRSU File: 12-190

As you approach the roadblock, use your truck to do the Dukes of Hazzard over the center median.  Dump your vehicle and flee from police. Do all of this cause you are impaired and breaching your bail conditions.  IRSU File: 12-358

Drive up to a police roadblock when you are a prohibited driver from a previous impaired driving charge.  Unfortunately, the same officer that dealt with you for the first impaired is the one to speak to you at the roadblock and recognizes you as a prohibited driver.  Watch as your wife (with a valid license) and your two kids leave on foot to walk the rest of the way home.  Make a sad face to the police officer as your Audi A4 gets impounded for 60 days. IRSU file 11-701

Drive up to a police roadblock while the woman in the back seat, who is not your wife, tries desperately to put her pants back on.  The car reeks of fresh marihuana.  When the officer opens the driver’s door, your baggie of coke can be seen in the door’s map pocket.  In addition to the cocaine, you also have one and a half pounds of marihuana and half a pound of hash in the car too.  IRSU File: 13-513

Drive up and stop short 50 meters short of a police roadblock.  Trade places with the driver because he is drunk and doesn’t have a license because of his previous impaired charges.  Get arrested for impaired driving yourself.  Change your mind and provide a written statement to the police so that you can get your (now) ex-boyfriend charged as well.  You blow 0.10, then 0.09 and your ex blows 0.12 and 0.11.  Two impaired drivers from one vehicle.  IRSU file 09-96

As you’re speaking to the officer, she notes a smell of fresh marihuana coming from the vehicle.  You’re arrested and when the vehicle is searched, police find a small amount of marihuana and just under $24,000 in cash in a backpack.  The money is the profits from selling drugs.  All the money is forfeited to Revenue Canada for unpaid back taxes.  IRSU file 09-718

Friday, February 7, 2014

Let Me Tell You about Dave

"Dave" is a pseudonym, used to protect the identity of the person the story is about.

Three days after Christmas police were called to remove someone who was no longer welcome. A friend had taken in Dave over the holidays and when we arrived he was so drunk that he could not speak or walk. For Dave’s friend, this behavior was outrageous and meant the end of the generosity. This was not unusual for the police, nor was it unusual for Dave.

As a matter of fact, Dave had been released from the hospital only an hour earlier where he had been taken after drinking himself into unconsciousness that morning.

Dave is one of our local street people and he suffers from mental health and addiction issues. The following is a snap-shot of what Dave’s life has been like since Christmas based solely on his interactions with the police.

We called for an ambulance that evening and Dave was taken back to the hospital where he could receive the appropriate care for his immediate condition. Gone are the days of lodging him in a cold, cell because nobody else would care for him.

Six hours later we were called to a local drug store where Dave was highly intoxicated and trying to steal Listerine. The store security recognized the futility of trying to proceed with criminal charges and merely wanted him removed.

An ambulance was called for the third time this day and the paramedics examined Dave. They determined that, although very intoxicated, he did not require hospitalization. We disagreed.

So, off to the hospital Dave went in the back of a police car. Once there the doctor examined him and cleared him of any immediate medical concerns, other than being extremely drunk. Dave was not welcome.

Back to the cold, cell for Dave… I was wrong.

The next afternoon, we were called to a local fast food restaurant for a male sleeping at one of the tables. Staff knew the man, knew his violent temper, and were afraid to wake him.

Dave had been wandering around since his release from cells with no place to go and only the clothes on his back. He wandered in to the restaurant for some warmth and just fell asleep.

We called around to the local emergency shelters but they all knew Dave. He was not welcome.

We drove him to a place where he thought, maybe, a friend would take him in. We dropped him off and he said something rude.

Later that evening history repeated itself and a waitress called from a local restaurant because a male had passed out a table. This time Dave had enjoyed a full dinner and several drinks before lapsing into unconsciousness. He had no money and the waitress paid for his meal out of her tips.

Dave was barely conscious and the ambulance was rerouted to another, higher priority, emergency call. We transported him to the hospital and learned that this was his second visit of the day. His level of consciousness was decreasing and, this time, he stayed where he could be cared for.

The next day, one of the local shelters called us. Dave had snuck in, unnoticed, and was now unconscious, barely breathing, on their floor. We arrived, along with paramedics, and he was taken back to the hospital.

Bright and early the next morning a taxi driver pulled up to the front of the police station. He had picked up a fare at the hospital that was now unconscious in the front seat of his cab. How Dave had managed to drink himself into unconsciousness in a taxi between the hospital and the police station is still unknown, but there he was. The ambulance was called and back to the hospital he went.

Six hours later a citizen saw an intoxicated man fall down on the road and hit his head. Dave had an almost empty bottle of Listerine in a death grip, stunk of liquor, and was taken back to the hospital.

We didn't see Dave the next day.

Perhaps it was because he had passed out in the darkness behind a dumpster where nobody could see him. That’s where he was found.

In the past two days three warrants had been approved for Dave’s arrest for failing to pay for food or for stealing food. He was taken to the hospital where he was cared for until sober enough to be arrested. Dave was then taken to cells where he was held until the next morning for a bail hearing.

Dave did five days in jail.

Once released, we received a call that he had snuck back into one of the shelters. Again, he was so intoxicated that he had fallen and cut his head. The paramedics attended and took him back to the hospital for the third time that day.

The next day he was back, sitting on the sidewalk, in front of the shelter, and still unwelcome. He had been put in a taxi at the hospital and delivered to the shelter that wouldn't allow him in. He was wearing a thin blazer, and hospital pajamas. We called around to shelters and hotels trying to find someplace for him. He had burned all those bridges and as soon as his name was mentioned the doors closed to him.

We came by the station and outfitted him with winter jacket, hoodie, jeans, and a wool blanket from the supply of donations kept on hand from our members for occasions of this sort. We then took him to a local fast food restaurant and bought him a coffee. Dave was sober and friendly and unusually pleasant to deal with. That’s where we left him. It was 1:30 am.

At 7:15 am one of our members patrolling downtown saw two males in a make-shift campsite. One was fine while the other, Dave, was not. He had been consuming prescription medication and Listerine and was quickly deteriorating. An ambulance was called and he was transported to the hospital.

It wasn’t until 4:15 pm that Dave reappeared on our radar. He was intoxicated and refusing to leave a fast food restaurant. Perhaps it was because he was so drunk he couldn't walk. Back to the hospital he went.

At 9:30 pm Dave was back at the same fast food restaurant, intoxicated, he had fallen again, splitting open his head injury from the previous day. This had been a bad day by anybody’s standards and back to the hospital he went.

Two days later Dave surfaced in Saanich where the Saanich Police were called to a restaurant for an intoxicated male. The paramedics had examined him and deemed that he did not require medical attention. Dave was lodged in cells because he was too intoxicated to care for himself.

Just after midnight Dave was back downtown at a fast food restaurant passed out a table. We couldn't wake him and the ambulance was called. Back to the hospital he went.

Six days went by without a sign of Dave.

Then, out of the blue, we received a call from Dave’s daughter. She lives in another part of the country and she was worried about her dad, as children sometimes do. They had grown apart over the years due to his mental health, addictions, and the turmoil of emotions that surrounds them. For some unexplained reason she had simply become “anxious” about his well-being and wanted to find him. She couldn't explain why and had no idea of his current situation.

Our officer promised her that he would find her dad.

It didn't take long and Dave was located, chemically sedated and locked down due to his violent outbursts, at the hospital.  He was now considered at a high risk to die as a result of his lifestyle. Dave had expressed a willingness to attend addiction counselling upon his release but, he’d done that before. He had learned, long ago, that saying the right things would get him out the door where he could go on doing whatever he wanted.

Our member recognized that now was the time to reach out to our community partners and find a way to save Dave, whether he wanted saving or not. He was scheduled for a court appearance and, with everyone working together, Dave could be put in front of a Judge, and we could seek a court ordered rehabilitation program.

This came to be and Dave found himself in front of a Judge who knew him well. The court deemed that a condition to attend, and participate in, counselling was justified. In response, Dave made it perfectly clear that he had no intention to stop drinking and that he believed counselling didn't work.

He was released.

The message from his daughter was passed along to Dave.

The following day Dave called us himself. He wanted to go to the hospital. Things were beginning to change.

Two days later we received another unusual call. Dave was at the hospital, sober, and refusing to leave. He wanted help.

It was midnight and he was at the emergency ward with no “real” emergent medical need. Due to his history of violence and abuse towards the hospital staff, he wasn't welcome.

Again, we tried all the shelters and no one would take him in. Dave didn't appear to understand why. We tried to explain to him how his long running rampage of anti-social behavior, violence, and abuse, had brought him to where he was. There was nothing we could do for him. He had to leave.

Twelve hours later Dave was back at the hospital having consumed glycerin, he was unsteady on his feet but otherwise functioning well. However, now he was refusing to accept any treatment and wanted to leave. We arrived and negotiated a peaceful settlement. Dave left a little later having been cleared medically.

Later that evening, Dave was found outside a downtown market vomiting from all the Listerine he had consumed. The Victoria Fire Department was there and paramedics attended to take him to the hospital.

He was released from the hospital three hours later wearing his blazer and hospital pajamas. We picked him up and restocked him with warm clothes, a scarf, and a blanket. Again we tried the shelters and this time one graciously allowed Dave to stay for one night, and one night only.

The next evening Dave came back to the same shelter despite being told he could only stay for the one night. He was sober and looking for help. For the first time he said he was “getting too old to sleep outside”. He agreed to leave but wanted to try back later in the night to see if he could stay.

Two days later Dave was unwanted again at the shelter that had helped him. When we arrived he was sober. We gave him a lift to a different shelter for a hot meal. Where he was going to spend the night, he did not know.

Since appearing before the Judge, Dave’s behavior had changed. A number of partner agencies had been brought in to provide assistance and, for the first time in a long time, Dave was listening.

Four days later, Dave had a bus ticket. It’s quite possibly a ticket that could save his life. It will take him out of Victoria to an Addiction Treatment Center.

This is a sample of twenty-four police interactions with Dave from Christmas until the end of January. There are 539 interactions on file. Dave has multiple warrants for his arrest in two western provinces including two mental health warrants for his apprehension. None of these warrants are enforceable in British Columbia.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Confounding Tenancy Argument Leads to Arrest of Break and Enter Suspects

In the beginning of January our officers were called to a local apartment building where two roommates were having trouble getting along. The original tenant had invited a “friend” to “couch surf” for a while but due to his propensity for hostility, and violence, he was no longer enjoying his company and wanted him out. According to the surfer though, the original invitation had soon became a subletting agreement and it was the original tenant who lacked any social skills. He claimed that money  had exchanged hands for rent while the other denied it. He even produced some receipts.

The officers determined that there was a strong likelihood that this was a civil tenancy dispute and not really a police matter. They left after advising the two that they should work it out like adults. After all, the home is one’s castle and just who’s castle it was could not be determined at that time.

A few days later the police were called back to find that the original tenant had moved out and the surfer had changed the locks. The now moved out tenant just wanted to get some things, including his TV. The surfer claimed that the tenant owed him money and it quickly became confusing with no proof of ownership available for any of the items in question.  Again, the two were told to work it out and they agreed.

Later, we received a call from the landlord of the building in question stating that they hadn't received any rent from the occupant of the suite in  a month and some other person had moved in without permission. This was potentially a criminal matter so, again, we attended. This time the surfer produced a lease agreement with his name on it. The landlord was contacted but, due to the time of night, it was decided to try and work things out the next day. So, the surfer was left in place.

The next day police re-attended in an attempt to finally work things out but the surfer barricaded himself within the suite and refused to answer the door.

Now, some people may not understand or agree with this but the police do not move people out of homes unless it is absolutely clear that a criminal offence has, or is likely to, occur. We normally attend to ensure things remain peaceful while the civil process of eviction takes place and is carried out by others. Therefore, it was decided that further investigation should be undertaken to determine whether or not this was clearly a criminal matter and, if so, how things should proceed and remain peaceful. It was during this investigation that it was confirmed the lease agreement presented by the surfer earlier was falsified and no agreement to lease ever existed.  

Meanwhile, and seemingly unrelated, another officer attended to  a local pizzeria for a report of a break in. Upon arrival it was found that someone had broken into the business over night, disabled the CCTV camera’s, stolen some items, and then spread several large industrial sized bags of flour all over the place “causing quite a mess”.

Although the camera’s had been rendered inoperable, they have a habit of continuing to operate right up to the point that they stop. Therefore, the cameras clearly captured two males breaking in along with some “good face shots”. The pizza shop staff immediately recognized one of the two males as the surfer, who was a recently fired employee.

As police prepared the report to Crown Counsel, and an arrest warrant request for the surfer, the pizza shop staff called in to say that the surfer had just walked past the store and had gone into a business across the street. Members descended upon the area and, after a brief attempt to elude police, he was taken into custody rounding out his total of police interactions to 80.

It was about this time that  information came to light that the surfer had started subletting the illegally occupied apartment to another male. Strangely enough, to one matching the description of the second male seen breaking into the pizza shop. In turn, it was learned that he was currently out and about with a large pink suitcase.

It should be noted here that you really cannot make this stuff up.

Sure enough, it was not long before an eagle eyed officer located a male pulling a large pink suitcase. It was, indeed, the second break and enter suspect. He was arrested and found to have an uncomfortably large knife stuffed down the front of his pants “for protection”… contrary to all four of his court ordered release documents from the lower mainland.

Members contacted the landlord to inform them that the apartment would probably be empty for quite some time now and they attended, took possession of the suite, and changed the locks.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Minute-by-minute with VicPD’s D-Watch on New Year’s Eve 2013

New Year's Eve is traditionally a busy night for VicPD. This year, Sgt. Fairburn and members of VicPD's D-Watch were on night shift patrolling the streets of Victoria and Esquimalt and taking what ended up being many calls for service. As one of two in the role of "Road Boss" that night, Sgt. Fairburn created this minute-by-minute account of VicPD's New Years Eve 2013. A typical Wednesday night shift would see between 40-60 calls for service. This night saw 130.

1730 hrs. Sign on and there are four calls for service holding.

Seven members are off at a stabbing where the victim has multiple stab wounds. One stab wound was to his head and his overall condition is unknown. There is a chance that he may lose the use of his eye and he is uncooperative, refusing to provide any information.

Another four members responding to hold-up alarm.

Several other units tied up on lower priority calls.

Only two clear units available.

Clear units to remain clear in case another emergency call comes in and the four holding calls to wait.

1754 hrs. Respond to a male overdosing on crystal meth. Upon arrival he is conscious and breathing, which slows the ambulance response time down.

1759 hrs. Call from the public of a man down, The male's condition is unknown. Turns out he's drunk himself into unconsciousness.

1820 hrs.  Ambulance on the scene of the overdose.

1830 hrs. Members dispatched to help a male in cardiac arrest in the Fernwood area. Members arrive along with ambulance and fire fighters.

Three of the original four calls for service are still holding.

1830 hrs. Briefing outlines contingency plan for potential failure of the CREST radio system tonight.

1844 hrs. First impaired driver of the night receives a 3 day driving prohibition.

1845 hrs. The man from the cardiac arrest passes away. Coroner are notified and Victim Services called out.

1858 hrs. Member the public calls and reports an impaired driver in the Gorge Road area. We circulate the area but are unable to locate it.

1902 hrs. As members clear from the earlier high priority calls they begin volunteering for the holding calls.

Now there's only one of the original holding calls left.

One unit transporting a prisoner from dayshift to Wilkinson Rd. jail. Another unit at the Royal Jubilee Hospital assisting an RCMP member with an uncooperative patient.

Four clear units, including the K9 unit.

The only call holding is someone reporting their cell phone having been stolen from the day before. We attempt to contact the complainant and learn they have gone out for the night. The call is then stacked for the following day shift to follow up.

1913 hrs. Several members respond to a domestic dispute between a mother and her daughter. "Lots of yelling and screaming". The mother describes her daughter as "having a previous brain injury and now is extremely high on meth".

1952 hrs. Another domestic between a couple. No violence but things escalating.  Members arrive in time to help things settle.

2005 hrs. Members dispatched to the hospital to transport a prisoner back to cells.

2021 hrs.  Members dispatched to a random male yelling and screaming on the street for no apparent reason. He was difficult to locate but eventually he was found several blocks away. He was drunk and lost. Members sent him home in a taxi.

2105 hrs. Members dispatched to a homeless shelter to remove a homeless man who was not welcome. It turns out he had several outstanding warrants for his arrest as well.

2107 hrs. Prisoner transported from cells to the hospital due to medical concerns.

2114 hrs. Members locate a male, known to them, with an outstanding warrant walking down the street. He's arrested and lodged in cells.

2128 hrs. Restaurant staff call because two customers are fighting.  One punched the other in the face and things are getting out of hand.

2128 hrs. Purveyors of liquor call police as one of their customers just punched another one of their customers in the face.

2130 hrs. Special duty members arrive. Extra officers have been called out in anticipation of a busy night.

2131 hrs. The first large noisy party call comes in.

2132 hrs. Members respond to a call of an unresponsive person found laying on the floor of their apartment.

2144 hrs. A citizen calls in and reports a possible impaired driver in the area of Blanshard and Fairfield. Units flood the area but are unable to locate it.

2154 hrs. Dispatched to a call of an angry man in a downtown parkade. Apparently he's upset about receiving a ticket.

2203 hrs. Second large noisy party call of the night comes in.

2204 hrs. Members dispatched to prevent a suicide.

2208 hrs. All attempts to revive the unconscious person fail. Corner notified.

2215 hrs. Impaired driver the tries to leave a house party and backs into his friend's Mustang. Homeowner dragged him out of the car, against his will, and took the keys away from him.  Driving prohibition issued, friend not happy.

2222 hrs. Unconscious male laying on the street after being punched in the face. BC Ambulance Service responding along with police. Victim was transported to Victoria General Hospital for treatment and the suspect arrested for assault.

2224 hrs. Male approached another man, asked him for a smoke, then punched him the face. Suspect fled, located, and arrested for assault.

2231 hrs. Members dispatched in response to a 21-year-old girl crying and screaming with possible alcohol poisoning.

2237 hrs. Abandoned 911 call. Upon call back and angry, intoxicated, and uncooperative male answered and refused to provide any information. He then hung up. The communication center staff called back and an intoxicated, uncooperative, female answered the phone. She stated that she didn't know the identity of the man in the residence. Members were dispatched to check her well-being.

2247 hrs. No clear units.

2255 hrs. Domestic in progress. Female can be heard screaming for help. Units arrived to find the domestic was only verbal.

2253 hrs. Members dispatched to two ladies fighting. One screaming "I'm going to slice your throat".

2253 hrs. Third large party complaint of the night called in.

2316 hrs. Six calls holding for service and no clear units.

2318 hrs. Members dispatched to assist BC Ambulance Service with a 15-year-old so intoxicated his companions were concerned that he had alcohol poisoning.

2329 hrs. Report of a large party that has now turn into a large brawl.

2322 hrs. Call of a domestic dispute between an elderly couple who have been married for 50 years.

2337 hrs. A large party approximate 60 people turning into a fight up and down the street. Members arrived and located a 17-year-old female unconscious from alcohol consumption. Home renter stated he invited a couple of people over and the party ended up being crashed by numerous people he did not know. His window had been kicked out and he was not very happy.

2340 hrs. Members happen upon a female so intoxicated she could not walk.

2341 hrs. Call of another altercation, approximately six people swearing and fighting.

Happy New Year

0001 Saanich Police requesting Victoria members to circulate our northern border for a stabbing suspect. K9 tracking south towards Victoria. Suspect still in possession of the knife.

0004 hrs. Large party slipping out of control. People fighting and swearing.

0009 hrs. People fighting inside a night club. Two arrested.

0016 hrs. Seven calls holding and no clear units. 

0021 hrs. Unruly female patron punches a bouncer in the face after being asked to leave a night club.

0028 hrs. Unconscious female found inside a night club.

0035 hrs. A report of twelve people fighting in a James Bay hotel.

0040 hrs. Caller reporting an intoxicated male falling down in the middle of the road and bleeding from the head.

0054 hrs. Complainant reporting that they had just struck an intoxicated pedestrian with their vehicle and then the pedestrian jumped up and fled into a large house party. They were concerned for his well being and waiting for police to arrive.

0100 hrs. Fifteen calls holding and no clear units.

0102 hrs. A unit transporting a prisoner back to cells came across and intoxicated female laying on the ground in her party dress and a puddle of her own vomit.

0104 hrs. An intoxicated female stumbled into a nightclub barely conscious and barely able to walk. All she wanted to do was to sleep on the floor. Staff call for police to remove her.

0015 hrs. A report of two people fist-fighting in a bus stop with a young lady trying to break it up.

0017 hrs. Report of people fighting inside a late-night food establishment throwing chairs around. Subjects fled westbound into the night.

0128 hrs. Subject from the chair throwing incident located at Blanchard and Cormorant by a witness.  He attempted to flee into the back of a taxi but was taken into custody without incident.

0132 hrs. Report of a male wandering the halls of an apartment building carrying a machete.

0148 hrs. Report of six people fighting and one person laying on the ground unconscious.

0153 hrs. Lady called complaining that she was being chased by multiple people armed with guns.

0159 hrs. Staff from a local nightclub restraining a male who was yelling that "I carry a gun."

0159 hrs. Another group of people fighting. Report one male being kicked in the head.

0200 hrs. Bars are open for an extra hour tonight... because it's a special occasion.

0200 hrs. Patrolling unit locates a domestic in progress at the rear the local night club. Male taken into custody for assault.

0209 hrs. 53 files for service generated since midnight. Five large party calls waiting for police attendance. No clear units.

0215 hrs. Report received a domestic in progress out on the street.

0222 hrs. Report of another domestic in progress. Male apparently going "nuts" and throwing chairs around.

0231 hrs. Members come across several males fighting in the street.

0235 hrs. Victim from a previous assault becoming violent with paramedics in the back of the ambulance.

0242 hrs. Fight out on the street with a male unconscious on the ground. Suspect fled eastbound.

0300 hrs. Extended bar closing time. 14 calls holding for service, 65 calls for service since midnight, no clear units.

0310 hrs. Members responded to a suicidal person with a knife. Prior to police arrival a family member attempted to disarm the suicidal person and suffered a knife wound.

0330 hrs. Another homeless shelter calls to have another person removed due to their behavior.

0332 hrs. Patrolling members come across several males pushing and shoving each other outside of a local nightclub.

0343 hrs. Members attended to an abandoned 911 call. On callback a female stated that the police were no longer required. On arrival it turned out that it was a domestic dispute .While members were interviewing the subjects the downstairs neighbor came up and attempted to stop police from investigating. When told to leave the neighbour became violent with police. He was arrested for obstruction.

 0355 hrs. Another impaired driver stopped and a 90-day driving prohibition issued.

0359 hrs. Intoxicated female found wandering the streets with a large gash to her leg. She was transported to the hospital for treatment.

0401 hrs. Another domestic between husband-and-wife. Male stated there were numerous weapons in the house but none of them were being used. Upon arrival the female is bleeding from a wound to her leg.

0404 hrs. Two fights in two different locations coming in at the same time.

0409 hrs. Another fight at a late night restaurant, two males in custody.

0411 hrs. 11 calls holding her service.

0416 hrs. Another call a fight inside an apartment. Complainant states that it sounds "heavy and physical".

0440 hrs. Saanich Police attempt to stop a vehicle at Blanshard and Bay. The driver refused to stop and the two occupants bailed out of the vehicle while it was still rolling. Victoria Police members attended the area to assist and both suspects were taken into custody after a short foot pursuit. Meanwhile the vehicle rolled to a stop against an electrical utility box.

0530 hrs.  Communication Ctr. states that since 1800 hrs., December 31, 2013, until 0530 hrs. January 1st, 2014,  we have taken 130 calls for service, 82 since midnight.