"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Monday, November 3, 2014

Edict from RCMP brass strips auxiliary officers of independence/power, hurts Coquitlam

Council unanimously supported my motion.
UPDATES: Here are some links to media stories about this issue, including explanations from the RCMP and admissions that, as I charged, they failed to consult with us before issuing the edict. Here's CKNW's story. Here's 24hrs'. Here's CKWX's. Here the story in the Tri-City News. And here's the Tri-Cities Now's story. And, finally, the Vancouver Sun's.

Late last month, an RCMP director in Ottawa quietly issued an edict that will have a dramatic and detrimental effect on the delivery of community-safety and –education programs in Coquitlam.
I am not happy about this. And neither are my colleagues on Coquitlam Council, who voted unanimously in favour of my motion tonight (seconded by Brent Asmundson) to express our disappointment with the change.
The heretofore unpublicized edict originated from the office of the Director of the National Crime Prevention/Aboriginal Policing Services, which ordered on Oct. 24 that all Auxiliary RCMP Constables must now be under the “direct” supervision of a Regular Member when performing their duties. Until now, it has been merely “general” supervision.
Until the change, the City had been able to use auxiliaries to, for example, patrol Canada Day festivities on their own, while generally supervised by one Regular Member at a central location. Under the new edict, however, the auxiliaries won’t be able to do this, and will have to be accompanied almost lockstep by a Regular Member.
This would not make sense, of course. The bottom line is that the new edict will either cost the City (and taxpayers, of course) considerably more money – for all-Regular Member patrols—or lead to a reduction in service. We are not amused.
Rubbing salt into the wound is the fact there was absolutely no consultation from Ottawa about this—an astonishingly tone-deaf approach considering the commitment the RCMP made during the last round of contract talks to better communicate with contracting municipalities.
The change in the role of auxiliaries may be no big deal in Ontario, which has a provincial force (the OPP) and city forces dealing with most of their population. But it’s a big deal in B.C., and an especially big deal in Coquitlam, where we have almost 50 auxiliaries performing a wide range of duties, from crime-prevention to community-education. (See the notice of motion, below, for more detail.)
We have every right to be proud of the tremendous work our auxiliaries have done for Coquitlam, and we are certain that they are having a profoundly beneficial effect on the community.
To have Ottawa imperil all that with a stroke of the pen is simply not acceptable.

Notice of Motion regarding Auxiliary Constables
Whereas the Director of the National Crime Prevention/Aboriginal Policing Services (Ottawa) has, of as of the 24th of October 2014, changed the policy with respect to the deployment and engagement of Auxiliary Constables within Detachments across Canada, and
Whereas the policy change identifies a move from 'General Supervision' to 'Direct Supervision' with regard to the deployment of Auxiliary Constables, with 'General Supervision' meaning the Auxiliary Constable(s) may perform specific duties without being under the direct supervision of a Regular Member, and 'Direct Supervision' meaning the Auxiliary constable must be accompanied and supervised by a Regular Member, and
Whereas the Coquitlam Detachment’s Auxiliary Constable Program is responsible for: Crime Reduction Patrols; School Presentations at elementary schools; visits to programs with City Parks and Rec Departments; presentations to Community Youth groups (Girl Guides and Boy Scouts); and providing police presence at Community Events, and
Whereas the announced changes of Oct. 24 appear to have a detrimental effect on the ability of Coquitlam Detachment’s Auxiliary Constables to perform the above-stated duties,
Therefore be it resolved that Coquitlam Council send a letter to the Director of the National Crime Prevention/Aboriginal Policing Services (Ottawa), outlining the impact the policy change has on the safety and well-being of the city of Coquitlam and asking that the policy change be reconsidered.
Moved by Councillor Terry O’Neill           Seconded by Councillor Brent Asmundson
Nov. 3, 2014

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