Publisher's Commentary

The Johnny Appleseed phenomenon

The federal government instituted prohibition in 1916. Although considered a social experiment at the time it was met with varying degrees of resistance. Quebec refused to comply and was granted an exemption. In 1927 the experiment was deemed not only a failure but a disaster. The provinces quickly filled the vacuum left by the repeal of prohibition.

We are today faced with a federal government study group looking into legalizing marijuana. Headed by former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, it's tasked with determining how to control its sale, distribution and taxation but apparently is not considering individual community tolerances to the stuff.

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Blue Line Magazine August / September 2016 Subscribe

Policing the nation's capital

Demonstrators amass outside the US embassy and CANSEC16 military trade show to protest a Canadian arms deal with Saudi Arabia. A gigantic sink hole opens at the corner of Rideau and Sussex Streets, just three blocks from Parliament Hill. Water gushes from a broken main and surrounding buildings are evacuated because of a reported gas leak.

That may sound like a lot to deal with over a two week period but Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officers also participated in a province-wide drug bust, investigated two shootings (one fatal), and hunted an armed and dangerous fugitive.

On any given day an OPS officer can interact with at least four different policing agencies working in and around the national capital. Policing Ottawa can be very complex. Events like the North American Leaders Summit, held in June, present unique demands to ensure the safety of foreign officials and area residents.


Penile swabs incident to arrest upheld

Canada's highest court has upheld police taking a penile swab from a sexual assault suspect following arrest.

In R. v. Saeed, 2016 SCC 24, police arrested the accused after a sexual assault complaint. He was allowed to speak to a lawyer at the station. At some point, police became aware that the sexual assault involved penile penetration.

As a consequence, Saeed was placed in a "dry cell," handcuffed to a steel pipe and seated on the floor with his hands behind his back to prevent him destroying evidence. Believing there were reasonable grounds the complainant's DNA would be found, the detective, through an interpreter, repeated the reason for arrest, again advised him of his rights and explained the process. The detective told Saeed he could take the swab himself or have a male officer do it.


Blue Line News Week August 26, 2016 Subscribe

Eye in sky watches entire cit

Aug 24 2016

BALTIMORE - Police long have watched cities from above but there were practical limits to airborne surveillance: Helicopters were too expensive - and the views from their cameras too narrow - to capture everything happening in a big, busy city.

No more.

A Cessna airplane equipped with an ultra-wide-angle camera array has been providing Baltimore police with aerial images collected across 32 square miles - more than a third of the city - for hours at a time since January. Only the occasional encroachment of clouds has obscured the views as the plane's 192-megapixel camera collected 10 terabytes of data each week.

Though the images are not crisp enough to show individual faces, researchers have shown that location data collected over time is remarkably distinct, potentially allowing for authorities to identify people and their daily movements.