Monday, January 23, 2012

The Police are NOT Your Friend

Not even in Canada.

With all due apologies to the good, solid, righteous cops out there, the Police have their own agenda, just like every other hard working man out there: to make money.

All wives bitch for the same things from their husbands: more time and more money. How does a cop make more money? He's just a cop! Not every cop makes sergeant or captain or chief. You can't have an entire force of police captains! Not to mention police captains make nearly $100,000/year and in large cities make well over that! FOR PUSHING PAPER AROUND!

Cops on the bottom of the pile, some of whom really work in the slums with the dregs of society see their boss being political, shaking hands with politicians and raking in 100k a year and what do they do? They look out for themselves with a few "political" deals of their own. Every man knows how politics works; you scratch my back, I scratch yours.

Montreal hired 168 new cops, yet the crime rate has been falling (do you think the "authorities" are going to suggest LAYING OFF officers (which is what should happen when crime is not a problem)? NO! They only have one answer to everything: MORE COPS!

One officer was busted trying to sell police information to the mob. Politicians show up to support cops under fire and cops fail to arrest politicians for corruption and fraud that is uncovered by the press. The same politicians that set the police dept.'s budget every year (the budget that hired 168 more cops). And around it goes.

To wit:

Aubin: A police force that does less with more

By Henry Aubin, The Gazette January 19, 2012

MONTREAL - Police chief Marc Parent is seeking to reassure Montrealers. He said Tuesday that a retired police detective had failed in his attempt to sell to the Mafia a top-secret list of undercover officers and other police informants. As it happens, the ex-detective died the next day.

So, end of story? Hardly.

It’s a relief to hear that no informants lost their lives. But the larger matter – the overall performance by police against organized crime – is not reassuring at all.

Montreal police appear to have been helpless to prevent the Mafia from maintaining a decades-long grip on parts of Montreal Island’s economy. And when intra-Mafia politics produce high-profile slayings, it’s striking how seldom local police make arrests. (Do last month’s arrests of five men linked to the killing of Salvatore Montagna suggest improvement? No. The Sûreté du Québec, not the Montreal force, nailed them.)

I’m perfectly willing to believe the department is full of hard-working officers dedicated to uprooting organized crime. But so far the results aren’t there. And the results will be even harder to obtain now that word is out a Montreal officer who had access to informants’ names had tried to peddle those names as a lucrative retirement project.

The department’s guarantee that informants’ identities enjoy Fort Knox-like security has lost credibility. Recruiting informants won’t get any easier.

It would be reassuring if the investigative prowess of Parent’s department had been largely responsible for preventing the sale of the names, but that’s not the case. The retired detective had approached a criminal lawyer in the hope that he would act as a middleman in the sale of the list to Mafia clients; La Presse reports it is this man who, shocked, alerted police. If not for this conscientious lawyer, brave people could have died.

The department’s record against the Mob reflects a bigger picture: The force rates poorly in fighting crime in general.

In its latest annual study on crime, published last month, Statistics Canada compiles cities’ 2010 “weighted clearance rates.” (A crime is cleared when a suspect is charged or cannot be found or has died. StatsCan’s calculations give greater weight to some crimes, like homicide, than others, like shoplifting.) The little-noted study indicates the Montreal department ranked eighth among police forces in Canada’s 10 largest cities.

That year was no fluke. Montreal consistently ranks low.

And this isn’t because Montreal lacks cops. This same study shows Montreal had the dubious distinction of ranking No. 1 in 2010 for the most officers per number of residents.

Nonetheless, Mayor Gérald Tremblay allowed the force to grow by 168 full-time officers in 2011. Never mind that the island’s crime rate is falling. (This reflects a continent-wide trend caused less by police successes than by an aging population.)

In sum, the island’s taxpayers employ a police force that does less with more.

Oh, here’s one last thing about Tuesday’s news conference: Tremblay himself was there, seated next to Parent, to express confidence in the department. His presence might have been a favour to Parent, but it was disquieting. We don’t see politicians holding a joint event with judges, and we shouldn’t see them doing so with police chiefs, either.

It’s part of an informal separation of powers meant to ensure political neutrality of cops – people with the power to probe municipal government. Elected officials hire police chiefs, determine department budgets and sit on a bipartisan panel that sets department orientation (on, for example, Tasers). Then they get out of the way.

This department has a blemished record on neutrality. In a disturbing email to employees, the previous chief, Yvan Delorme, all but endorsed Tremblay’s Union Montréal party weeks before the last city election.

The department also has been remarkably inattentive to the growth of corruption and other grime within city government during the Tremblay years. It took journalists, not cops, to diagnose that cancer.

No, there’s nothing reassuring about this week’s news that the department narrowly escaped a disastrous security breach. It was due largely to luck. And it points to far broader problems in a department that is as oversized as it is underperforming.

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