Posts Tagged ‘Oak Bay Police’

Changing the way police do business (Part I)

Written by Harold McNeill on July 19th, 2019. Posted in Amalgamation Posts, Police Notebook, Editorials


I don’t think anything demonstrates the solidarity of police officers more than when attending the funeral of a comrade killed in the line of duty. This photo, taken in Moncton in 2014, captures the essence as officers from across Canada and around the world bid farewell to Constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, David Joseph Ross, 32, and Douglas James Larche, 40, killed during a shooting spree.

The shields of Central Saanich, Oak Bay, RCMP, Saanich, and Victoria represent the ideals of comrades in arms.

Introduction to Series

Part II, Comparing differing police cultures
Part III, The past as a guide to the future
Part IV The integration of police services

Link to CBC Podcast: Policing in the CRD

Contact: Harold@mcneillifestories.com

This series of posts will explore some of the past, present, and possible future directions of policing within the Capital Region. It will include discussions about differing police cultures, how they clash and how they work together; and, of course, thoughts about amalgamation, a topic frequently thrust into the public eye.

The Victoria/Esquimalt joint force will be singled out for additional scrutiny, as over the past sixteen years the debate about that merger is also kept in the public eye. While the administrators of the joint force often use the challenges they face as a bargaining chip, it is also used by others to advance an ideological purpose as in a recent letter penned by the President of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. (1)

Although the post will deal with sensitive areas of police work and police personality, I steadfastly maintain police officers in the CRD and across Canada, are among the very best in the world.  Corruption is not a part of our police culture and while it was present in the last century, it was rooted out and systems put in place to ensure it did not return.

When Canadian police officers swear their Oath of Office, they take that oath to heart.  What is sometimes lacking is solid, independent oversight of the sort that provides an unbiased assessment of police actions when those actions are called into question be they external or internal.

Also, in press articles, when references are made to ‘dysfunction’ or ‘a broken system’ by the press or others, they are overstating their case.  While the challenges to be addressed are difficult, those challenges do not stop our police officers from maintaining an even-handed approach in enforcing the law and helping citizens within our largely peaceful communities.

Part 1:   Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation

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The Scratch and Lose Caper

Written by Harold McNeill on March 12th, 2017. Posted in Police Notebook, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


lottery-tickets_0

How to scratch open a jail cell.

At 2:00 am Sunday, or at that time any other day of the week, Greater Victoria was known as the land of “Newlyweds, Nearly Deads.” As traffic thinned during those early morning hours, the hum of the tires on a car traveling at high speed could be heard for miles. On this morning, the hum was that of an early 1960’s Oldsmobile, a machine having witnessed better days, as it sped East along Pandora, then onto Oak Bay Avenue.

The four young men inside were still hooting and hollering after partying late in one of the downtown clubs. They were now heading home to Gordon Head but having missed the Fort Street cut-off that would have taken them to Foul Bay Road then north, continued East along Oak Bay Ave. All had been drinking heavily and had no particular purpose in mind other than getting home to continue the party.IMG_0975

As they approached Foul Bay Road someone hollered: “Hey man, ya gotta turn here!” However, speed and distance would soon become limiting factors given the tank in which they were riding. The driver, his sense dulled by alcohol, braked heavily then cranked the wheel hard left. As momentum and weight took over, the tires broke away in a wide yaw that led first to the sidewalk, then to West wall of Frost’s corner store.

Photo (web) A 1960’s style Oldsmobile, 4-door.

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Abducted: The First Twelve Hours

Written by Harold McNeill on June 28th, 2014. Posted in Police Notebook


A full set of photos from this story and a short introduction for the post appears on the
McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page (Link Here) (Note: All the photos, except the two from the Oak Bay PD, were captured from Web sources.)

homeless_woman_with_dogs

“Except for my dogs, I am alone in a world filled with people.”

For people of all ages, but particularly the young, few things can be more lonely than being on a street full of people and the only looks received vary between pity, disgust and outright anger. Most street people are viewed as being worth less than the clothes they wear. They could go missing, be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, even murdered, yet this often raises barely a ripple from the public, even within police circles.

If they are of native descent or part of a visible minority, it is far worse. In 2010 during the Olympics, I watched as two members of the “Red Shirt Brigade” (Volunteer Security) in Vancouver being openly antagonistic and physically aggressive towards a native woman sleeping in the doorway of a store that was closed for the night. This story traces the social conflicts which remain close to the surface in this bountiful country of Canada. (Photo Web source)
(Post: February 2016 2794)
(July 2018 4702)

Introduction 

In the Oak Bay office, it was nearing 3:00 am, as the night shift Sergeant, Constable and a Civilian Dispatcher were cleaning up the coffee room when the five phone lines lite up. In the quiet hours, this usually meant an accident or similar emergency had shaken several residents from their pre-dawn slumber. In this case, two blasts from a shotgun were followed by the blood-curdling screens of a woman.  So began a twelve-hour saga where a young woman’s life hung in the balance.”

Having lived inside the police system for thirty years, this story, and many others to follow, explore various Oak Bay Police Major Crime files from beginning to end. Many of the stories including this one, contain additional discussion about social issues related to the crime.  This particular file is used as a sample of how some criminal acts (or suspected criminal acts) can be quickly filtered to ‘inactive’ when the victim lives outside the mainstream. While this is sometimes done for good reason, discounting these crimes can have serious, unintended consequences in the mainstream as demonstrated in eight interconnected chapters beginning in the early 1980s and extending to the present day.  If you wish to skip the social interest sections you can read Chapters 3-7 for the present criminal case.

Chapters 1: A discussion of how the police and justice system filter is applied and how societal norms (reference the section on deviance) impact the events such as those described in this  Oak Bay Police abduction case.

Chapter 2: A general description of the Greater Victoria area, the various police departments and of the area in which the crime occurred.

Chapter 3 and 4: Provides background on the victim. This is done as a method of demonstrating how some victims, because of age, sex, socio-economic status, mental illness or some other factor, are left vulnerable when society in general and the criminal justice system in particular, fails to render assistance.

Chapters 5, 6 and 7: Tracks the investigation from beginning to end.  This is done to demonstrate why a high level of cooperation between police agencies is an essential component of effective law enforcement. This is particularly so when a crime crosses jurisdictional boundaries, be it local, provincial or national. The chapters also demonstrate how a small Department the size of Oak Bay is able to provide a full range, effective police service.  It also demonstrates how closely police agencies in Greater Victoria cooperate with one another.

Chapter 8: Outlines other cases, in particular, the recent murder of Tim Bosma in Ancaster, Ontario, as a means of demonstrating how an application of the police filter can have unintended consequences when a serial sex offender or murderer is at work.  I am currently writing a story about how a serial rapist and murderer was finally charged with numerous counts of rape and one murder, after several police agencies in Greater Victoria came together in common purpose.

Addendum 1:  A paedophile in our midst. This part, which began in the mid-1980s, flowed back to the surface in July 2013. It involved a Boy Scout Leader who led the Royal Oak Group of which our oldest son was a member until leaving the troop after a serious injury at a Scout Camp retreat in Sooke. There is no suggestion our son was molested, but the danger was lurking just one small step away from our family.

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Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay

Written by Harold McNeill on May 16th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal 1980

Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal (Web Source) c1980’s. On the May Day long week-end, 1983, a dozen police waited patiently with weapons at ready. The gang that commanded their attention had amassed a small arsenal of handguns, shotguns, rifles and even considered mounting a machine gun in the back of a stolen van. They also collected a box of dynamite and purchased blasting caps, radio transmitters, scanners, balaclavas and sundry other equipment to pull off a major heist. The leader of the gang was a convicted bank robber from the Lower Mainland who made no bones about killing if that should become necessary.

The gang had their planning down to the minute with their goal being a small fortune in cash that flowed through the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal on every long week-end. The only thing that stood between the gang and their goal was a small group of police officers and civilians who quietly, deliberately and surreptitiously inserted themselves into the gangs planning process.

October 28, 2017 (1090)
February 3, 2018 (1125)

Link here to Part I of this Series: Oversight of Police and Security

Link here to Part II of the series: Conspiracy to Bomb the BC Legislature

Part III Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay

An earlier post about BC Ferries posted on McNeill Life Stories: Thank you BC Ferries

1. Introduction

In Part II, Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature, the crime was developed over a five-month period by 250 RCMP Security Service officers, a few of which had close personal ties with two two criminal suspects as they (the police) coached, cajoled, encouraged, threatened and supported the couple along the path towards committing a serious crime at the Canada Day celebrations in July 2013. It was a crime the police defined, not the suspects.

In this post, an Armed Robbery and a Conspiracy to Commit an Armed Robbery, a half dozen suspects take the lead while an equal number of police officers (Note 3) take turns following the group, listening to their conversations and collecting evidence as it was produced along the way. During the five-week investigation, the suspects had no idea police were dogging their heels. It was a classic conspiracy investigation.

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Humour in Uniform Police Part 1

Written by Harold McNeill on December 3rd, 2012. Posted in Police Notebook


December 11, 2012.  The above “Christmas Card”, prepared and circulated by the Abbotsford Police Department (Lower Mainland of British Columbia), will no doubt create considerable controversy. Destined to land in the mailboxes of several serial offenders and organized crime figures who have taken up residence in Abbotsford over the past several years, the card was signed by the Chief Constable and two Inspectors. In my view the card is a rather good example of black humour, police style, however, the fact it was circulated to members of the general public is rather unusual.

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San Remo Restaurant Burglary

Written by Harold McNeill on February 12th, 2012. Posted in Police Notebook


The San Remo Restaurant on Quadra at Hillside, has been a fixture in
Victoria for nearly 30 years. With an array of authentic Greek dishes as well Italian and American favourites, the warm and welcoming atmosphere provided by Dino, his daughter Zoi and the friendly staff makes a visit well worthwhile and repeat visists a must (see photos at end of story).

Quiet Times

It was 2:00 am Monday as I sat in my patrol car at the corner of Foul Bay Road and Fort Street working on a vexing problem. The problem? Trying to stay awake. As usual at the end of a week-end, not a thing was happening throughout the city and the radio barely crackled. You could fire a rifle down Douglas Street or along Oak Bay Ave and never fear of hitting anyone. It was nice to have an interlude, but the challenge at 2:00 am was keeping the mind occupied and off the thought of sleep.

As I whiled away the time, another car would occasionally book off with a vehicle, but nothing of consequence. I reflected back upon those times when my friends Blake Green, a Victoria Police member, and his wife Joanne, lived just a few door’s from where I was parked. The coffee pot was always on and the door open, but not a 2:00 am.  The Green’s had moved in a few years back and the street, Goldsmith, was now long gone as the houses were torn down to make way for a Seniors Housing Complex and the Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

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Sealand of the Pacific – Death in the Whale Pool

Written by Harold McNeill on January 6th, 2012. Posted in Police Notebook


Miracle performs at Sealand

Miracle’ the Killer Whale Performs at Sealand of the Pacific in Oak Bay, B.C.   The internationally popular whale died in an incident that was blamed on Greenpeace activists.

January 6, 2017: Tilikum, the most infamous of the captured killer whales, died at SeaWorld in Orland, Florida.  Skip to Section 2, then 5, for background on Tilikum and the other killer whales who thrilled audiences around the world.

This post was written by Det./Sgt. Harold David McNeill who investigated several incidents at Sealand of the Pacific, and the Oak Bay Marina, including the death of Miracle, the Killer Whale.

Background

In 1991, a young woman from Victoria, an Environmental Studies student at the University of Victoria, Keltie Byrne, tragically died in the whale pool at Sealand of the Pacific in Oak Bay, British Columbia.  The three whales in the pool at the time were Tilikum, Nootka II, and Haida II. They were directly involved in the death, not as killers, but as friends, whose game lead to tragic consequences. Keltie’s death was the culmination of three decades of events that lead the owner of the Oak Bay Marine Group and Sealand of the Pacific, Robert (Bob) Wright, to finally close the display in 1992.

The death of Keltie and the exploitation of killer whales was a tipping point in the much larger story about the development of protest movements around the world, particularly that of Greenpeace, whose origins can be traced to Victoria, B.C. in the 1960s.

During their history, the organization was vilified, supporters killed, their ships rammed and one sunk by French Government agents within the confines of the peaceful Auckland Harbour, in New Zealand. Two French secret service agents were arrested while trying to leave the country and charged with murder. They later walked away as free men who were celebrated as heroes in their own country and one man was even promoted to the senior ranks of the French Military.

In an Oak Bay case, Greenpeace supporters were held out as prime suspects in the tragic death of another internationally famous killer whale, Miracle, whose battered body was found tangled in the nets at SealandAs well as the intrigue surrounding the deaths of Keltie and Miracle, the story delves into the history of Protest Movements in British Columbia and around the world.

It was through the efforts of thousands of activists, including those at Greenpeace, that many important changes in government and industrial practices were brought about over the past sixty years. The world would be much worse off had it not been for organizations such as Greenpeace who constantly agitated for change in our environmental practices. It is easy to visualize the environmental challenges faced by China today, is nearly the same as was the case in many cities across North America and Europe decades earlier.

Greenpeace and Sealand Photographs

Update June 25, 2015The MV Farley Mowat, once the flagship of Greenpeace has made a temporary move to the bottom of Shelburne Harbour in Nova Scotia after being scuttled.  The Coast Guard seized the vessel in 2008 during a confrontation with seal hunters in the Northern Atlantic.  More on the history of the ship in the following story.

Link to Media Post 

Video of Sealand, the Early Days

March 9, 2016 (8575)  January 1, 2017 (9464)
January 1, 2018 (10,455) May 27, 2018 (10,744)
May 4, 2019 (11,299)

March 9, 2016 (Times Colonist Report on Tilikum)

January 8, 2017  (Tilikum Dies at Seaworld)

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]

  • Harold McNeill

    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

    I’ve copied just one sentence from Mulligan’s longer discussion, “And I think people don’t like the idea that somebody who’s, for example, was drunk and ran into you and you become a quadriplegic is going to be treated exactly the same way you would in terms of getting benefits (go to minute 00:15:26 to see his full comment)

    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    January 5, 2020 |

    […] 28. The past as a guide to the future (Part III): Over the past 60 years, many activities the police once performed as a natural part of their daily duty, eventually became incompatible with achieving their basic goals. What happened? (August 2019) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Why I stand with science? - McNeill Life Stories

    November 11, 2019 |

    […] During the Ice Age, the Earth’s average temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it is today. That was enough to keep snow from melting during the summers in northern regions. As snow fell on the snow, glaciers formed. (NASA Earth Observatory) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories How to Game an Election - McNeill Life Stories

    September 18, 2019 |

    […] The Federal Conservatives and Seymour Riding Association complied but one day later those memes will be shared by every third party social media site and by thousands of supporters where the message will be taken as a statements of the fact.  Five years from now those memes will still be circulating. (Link here to background on the SNC Lavalin matter) […]