ACTION gets thumbs up
Hamilton police say its ACTION unit is getting results in downtown Hamilton.
Clad in high visibility, Day-Glo yellow jackets and set loose on downtown streets in May this year, the Addressing Crime Trends in our Neighbourhoods (ACTION) unit has racked up some strong results not just in downtown, but across the city where its been deployed, says Hamilton police Chief Glenn De Caire.
The 40-member unit fights crime and the perception of crime, De Caire said Friday.
Between May 1 and Sept. 30, the unit has made 657 arrests, laid 960 charges, seized more than $400,000 in illegal street drugs and issued 3,250 tickets for various offences.
Before the unit was launched, major crime categories in the city and core were benchmarked for measurement.
This included a review of all calls for service and incidents from May 10 to Sept. 30 and for the same time period for the years 2006 to 2009 as well.
What they found, said De Caire, is that the frequency of shooting incidents, robbery and life-threatening calls has reduced city wide, within the central division and across ACTION’s specific target area this year
Muggings have decreased by 22 per cent in the city, 23 per cent in the downtown division and 27 per cent in the ACTION area
“Life-threatening calls in 2010 are at the lowest level — at 37 — than they have been in the last four years for the same five-month time period,” he said.
People feel safe and that makes them more inclined to engage the police and report more crimes, which makes the crime rate rise, he said.
De Caire also said they’ve been watching to see if crime is simply being forced out of the core area and displaced to another area. That is not the case as far as analysis can tell so far, he said. What is happening is some scattering of crime in conjunction with a decline in incidents across the service jurisdiction.
Hamilton Mayor and former downtown councillor Bob Bratina said he believes the unit is a success.
“It’s obvious that things are different (downtown),” he said “Policing has changed and the downtown has changed.”
The provincial Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Service’s Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) has committed $1 million to the development and operation of the unit.
Even the public comments that are posted for this article are positive. Nice to see.
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But don't read the comments!!!
VanB wrote:ACTION is based on TAVIS, which was DeCaire's baby when he was with TPS.
Back in the spring when he was getting it set up they sent an email to all the HPS guys I work with asking for suggestions on a name for the unit that ends up also being a catchy acronym. I suggested one of them put in for calling it the "Fast Action Response Team." It never took.
Gee....don't know why..... The F.A.R.T. unit.
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Mongo wrote:Dave Jenkins wrote:Gee....don't know why..... The F.A.R.T. unit.
Yes, we got it the first time, thanks.
Well, it likely took 'ol Dave awhile to get it, so he just assumed the rest of us would have the same problem...
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Respond Wayne wrote:Mongo wrote:Dave Jenkins wrote:Gee....don't know why..... The F.A.R.T. unit.
Yes, we got it the first time, thanks.
Well, it likely took 'ol Dave awhile to get it, so he just assumed the rest of us would have the same problem...
of course "THE GERBIL MASTER" would understand right away
HwyBear wrote:of course "THE GERBIL MASTER" would understand right away
Give the cops a break
By Earl McRae, Ottawa Sun
I couldn’t be a cop. Human nature would get in the way. If I arrested for justifiable cause some no-life punk loser with triple-anger management deficit and he bit me on the arm or spit in my face or kneed me in the goolies or all three, it’d be to hell with me being a cop and restraining my impulses.
I’d go at the bastard, trying to kick the rotten crap out of him.
I might not be able to, but I’d try.
Wearing the blue in such situations means suppression of human instincts.
And if it happened in a bar or on the street out front, I’m sure I’d hear all around me: “Give it to him! Give it to the cop pig! Kill the cop!”
I’m sure I’d hear anti-cop, pro-scum screams in my ears even if I upheld my cop training and didn’t go at him as if in a street fight, but managed, with my partner, to hold him under wraps and get him into the cruiser.
Have there been situations on police forces where a cop has physically retaliated out of public view against some incorrigible a-hole who is continuing to want to show him he’s a biting, cursing, spitting, fist-flinging Mike Tyson?
I’m sure there have been.
Turn the other cheek against one of these profanity-spraying, phlegm-horking, fists-throwing, boots-swinging, eyes-gouging bums? Sure, sweetheart, I’ll turn your other cheek. Do you want a left hook or a right cross?
That the great majority of cops don’t do what I would do is testimony to their moral strength and training.
Of course, you know what would happen if I went mano-o-mano at the arrest scene rather than what society’s weeping hearts would want me to do — which is nothing, just take it.
The bad guy would howl “police brutality,” there’d be a hearing, there’d be massive attempts to portray me as the villain, and the bad guy as the poor, innocent victim.
I’d be suspended or fired.
And a great tide of venom would sweep across the landscape from the dumb, foolish, and ignorant that all cops are sadistic, evil, Storm Troopers who can’t be trusted.
Cop work is not the church picnic. Cops know, when they leave for work every day, there’s always a possibility they won’t be coming home again. Does your job contain that possibility?
Violence can suddenly explode when unexpected. An Ottawa cop is sitting in his cruiser outside the Civic hospital, a non-threatening looking man saunters over to his window, the cop rolls it down, the man slashes the cop’s throat with a knife and kills him.
Cops over the years have been shot, wounded, and killed approaching vehicles they’ve routinely pulled over for highway infractions. Eight years ago a Morrisburg OPP officer was lucky. He was wearing a bullet proof vest when the driver suddenly opened up, firing. The bullet ricocheted off the vest and grazed the cop’s head.
Cops have entered bars and houses to break up drunken disturbances and had someone pull a gun on them. Who has the instant advantage? Cops, by regulations, have to keep their guns holster-locked.
If a cop is confronted by someone with a gun, or a knife, it wouldn’t be wise to say: “Excuse me, no offence intended, and with all due respect, may I ask if you are planning to use that on me, and if you are could you be so kind as to hold on a sec while I take my own gun out of my holster?”
A man, as I speak, has a lawsuit against the Ottawa police. His son and a “friend” were engaged in a volatile argument on a porch around 3 a.m. Two cops arrived. The “friend” was un-cooperative when the cops asked for ID.
The father claims one of the cops was staring at his son and “tensing up.” The father claims he put his hand on the cop’s shoulder just to calm him. The father claims the cop’s partner immediately reacted and “clotheslined” him to the ground, cutting his knee and hurting his neck.
Clotheslined? As I said, I could never be a cop. If I was the cop’s partner I’d have done more than clotheslined the guy. The guy can say what he wants. Are cops supposed to be mind readers?
Gimme a break. Better yet, give the cops a break.
When things get worse, I take comfort in knowing they can only get better.
http://www.thespec.com/news/crime/artic ... -of-action
Hamilton’s man of ACTION
Police chief known for his leadership one year into the job
At precisely 9 a.m. the chief – armed and in uniform – strides into the boardroom, offers a brief but pleasant greeting, sits at the head of the table, leans forward, makes eye contact and is set to start the interview.
“We’re rolling all daylong,” he says, by which he means he is a busy man, on a tight schedule.
It has been that way for a year.
This week marked the anniversary of Glenn De Caire’s swearing in as Hamilton’s 34th Chief of Police. He was a controversial choice. Only the second chief in Hamilton’s history to be hired from outside the service, he was embraced by some who thought there needed to be a fresh start and scorned by others, who thought continuity and familiarity are essential.
The former Toronto police staff superintendent has no personal connections to the service. He is all business at work, preferring to keep his personal life private. While past chiefs have done interviews in their office, where glimpses of their personal lives appear in family photos and mementos, De Caire does not invite media to his inner sanctum. His dealings with reporters are formal and highly controlled.
“We have had an absolutely phenomenal year at the Hamilton Police Service,” he says, his words clipped and clear. “I have been submerging myself into the culture of the organization, into learning about our people.”
And his people love him for it.
From front-line constables to seasoned detectives, Hamilton officers rave about their chief. They say he is a commander who is still a street cop. The lore about De Caire is passed from officer to officer.
Last Christmas Eve he was on parade at 5 a.m., attended a promotion ceremony, went home briefly to his family, then did RIDE lanes at midnight. He was out there on New Year’s Eve too. He arrested a vandal a month into the job. Constables doing traffic stops have had their chief pull up to ask if they need backup. He has done ride-alongs with patrol officers and shown up at scenes to make sure officers have what they need to do their job.
He e-mails praise for jobs well done. He does the barbecuing for station fundraisers.
“He’s one of us,” says a longtime patrol sergeant who admits he wasn’t thrilled to learn his new chief was an outsider. “He’s a breath of fresh air.”
Senior officers have followed the chief’s example, trading suits and ties for uniforms and gun belts, something noted by the rank and file, says the sergeant.
All that has boosted morale, the sergeant says. Officers are again proud to wear their uniform.
“He does the real leadership role in a way that hasn’t been done around Hamilton for a long time,” says Mike Thomas, president of the Hamilton Police Association (HPA). “He gets right down on the front line … Being a cop is a difficult job. It’s incredibly important to know that your chief understands that. Who says, ‘Use your best judgment and I’ll be here to support you.’”
Thomas, who did not initially support an outside chief, says De Caire “will raise the community’s level of respect for policing.”
“He’s restored a very military sort of order,” says outgoing Police Services board chair Bruce Pearson. “He always has an action plan. He’s really by the book. I wouldn’t change Glenn for anything.”
De Caire is in by 6 a.m. and at community events most evenings. He says he’s been to more than 250 since he took the job.
The community can readily see some of what De Caire has accomplished this year.
The highly visible ACTION Team has been on the ground since May. In florescent yellow jackets, the 40-officer team is usually in the core and always on foot or bicycle. Modelled after a unit De Caire commanded in Toronto, the team received $500,000 in provincial funding earmarked for targeting gun and gang violence.
The goal of ACTION – which stands for Addressing Crime Trends In Our Neighbourhoods — is not just to make the core safer, but also to improve “the perception of safety,” the chief says.
As well as making arrests – 657 at last count – ACTION gets to know folks downtown. They drop by shops, check out Bulldogs games, stroll Gore Park. They even have a Twitter account with more than 160 followers.
The creation of the team was met with some skepticism, since it was taking front-line officers out of already thin divisional squads to staff ACTION.
“We have daily monitoring of our street strength” and watch response times, says De Caire.
He says he worked with the HPA to change shift patterns within the collective agreement to accommodate ACTION’s schedule.
“The majority of the people came from the front line,” says Thomas. “So we’ve got to ensure the ACTION team remains effective. But we can’t close our eyes to the (divisional) officers who aren’t getting their lunches and too many call-ins (to backfill street shifts.)”
De Caire also negotiated with the union after his quick implementation of twice-a-day reporting for officers suspended with pay.
Ontario is the only province with legislation making it mandatory for suspended officers to be paid until the matter is resolved.
Soon after arriving in Hamilton, De Caire ordered suspended officers to sign in at a station in the morning and at night – which is the Toronto way. Previously, suspended officers could report by phone or in person, sometimes once a day or twice a week.
“We were ready to grieve the twice a day,” says Thomas. “Then we had a really open conversation and now have an agreement. We’re now looking at (the reporting) case by case.”
De Caire is also reorganizing his service. A new Community Mobilization Section is being created to bring together “all the assets of the service that reach out to the broader community.” Youth and domestic violence issues and victim support will be centralized.
These are major changes, but De Caire said Hamilton’s drug problem would be a top priority.
Regan Anderson, executive director of Wayside House, a residential addiction treatment program for men, was thrilled when De Caire highlighted drugs as a priority. Anderson met with the chief soon after his arrival and offered to work with him.
“It was a great meeting. He was very interested and well informed,” says Anderson. “But I haven’t heard from him since … Things remain status quo … As far as community engagement, I haven’t seen him making that a priority.”
The chief now says he also has two other priority areas: domestic violence and impaired driving.
HPS members say De Caire warned that anyone within the organization who commits those offences will be dealt with harshly.
During De Caire’s reign, two constables have been found guilty of impaired driving. One was demoted, the other still faces a tribunal. A third is before the courts.
Criminal domestic assault charges were dropped against another officer, who faces Police Act charges. Another officer facing domestic criminal harassment charges has retired, rendering his Police Act charges null and void.
In one of those domestic cases, De Caire refused to release the name of the accused officer, saying it was to protect the identity of the victim. But leaders of local women’s organizations who work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault – some of whom sit on an advisory committee to the chief — wanted the officer named and held accountable.
By far the biggest crisis facing De Caire has been the Po La Hay case.
In May, police burst through the door of La Hay’s home and allegedly kicked and punched him. The 58-year-old Karen refugee suffered a broken nose and ribs.
De Caire admitted officers went to the wrong apartment and La Hay was not the drug dealer they were looking for. The address on the search warrant was wrong.
The night of the botched arrest, police did not notify the Special Investigations Unit about La Hay’s injuries. Recently the SIU charged Constable Ryan Tocher with assault causing bodily harm.
An investigation through the Independent Police Review Director, a civilian agency overseen by the Attorney General, is on hold while the criminal case continues, as is a review the chief requested from the OPP.
“But we don’t need to wait for an outside investigation to deal with the issues we saw within our own procedures,” says De Caire. A new search warrant execution form has been implemented which includes an independent supervisory check of all warrants and addresses within two days of the execution of the warrant where possible.
De Caire has personally reached out to the Karen community since the La Hay debacle.
“We know the impact this has had on the greater community, and in particular, the Karen community,” he says.
The Community Coalition Against Racism is watching the case. Spokesperson Ken Stone gives the chief “a mixed review.” On one hand, he admitted the mistake and offered an apology. On the other “it took too long to get the SIU involved.”
“I think (HPS) should be more transparent because they really blundered,” Stone says.
At the start of his five-year contract, De Caire promised “a very transparent command.”
Transparency and accountability are key to keeping up the excellent first impression the chief has made on officers and the community, says Thomas.
“He’s learned that Hamilton is a different city than Toronto,” says the union president. “Here, people expect that when there’s a problem, they will hear from the chief. He’s the one who is accountable.”
Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. email@example.com
Bratina:‘Outcome’ of policing more important than numbers Mayor praises crackdown on ‘public disorder’ in core
By RICHARD LEITNER, NEWS STAFF
Dec 08, 2010
Mayor Bob Bratina says he’ll be less focused on increasing the number of police officers on the Hamilton streets in his coming term than on their success in cutting crime and “public disorder.” His predecessor, Fred Eisenberger, promised to add 100 cops during his term – a target he missed – but the new mayor said he isn’t bringing a specific agenda as he joins the Hamilton police services board.
“It’s the outcome that you want,” Bratina said, praising Police Chief Glenn De Caire for the success of efforts to crack down on criminal and disruptive behaviour in the downtown core, including “ground zero” outside the main entrance to Jackson Square.
“I was frankly embarrassed at times by the unruliness and the loitering and the people yelling at each other. I don’t see that – I won’t say ever at all – but I would say it’s a 90 per cent improvement,” he said.
“I know that (the chief) gets it. As a new member of the board I’ll be more supportive and in a learning curve, as opposed to bringing my particular agenda.” The mayor offered his assessment following a press conference hailing the progress of a special unit of 40 mostly foot and bike patrol officers primarily dedicated to the downtown core, but that is also deployed for Ticat games and festivals across the city.
Between its May 7 launch and the end of November, the ACTION unit officers made 657 arrests, laid 960 charges, seized more than $400,000 in illegal street drugs and issued 3,250 offence tickets, according to police.
Muggings were cut by more than a fifth and the 37 life-threatening calls during the five-month startup were the lowest in the past four years for the same period.
De Caire told the press conference he found “most disturbing” the re-arrest of 259 people who failed to comply with court-ordered restrictions or probation conditions.
He said he expects increased enforcement and encouragement of public reporting of criminal activity to see the crime rate rise.
“Normally that’s not what you want to hear from the chief of police, but that’s the return that we are going to get on our investment,” he said.
“The community safety is the dividend of that investment, so I am OK if the crime rate goes through the roof. That means that the safety rate is also on the same rapid rise.” Mountain Liberal MPP Sophia Aggelonitis said her government has committed more than $1 million to the city as part of a provincial anti-violence strategy, praising the entire Hamilton Police Service for the crackdown’s success.
“It is a joint effort and we really appreciate it on behalf of the citizens of this city,” she said.