Blue Line


October 10, 2012  By Morley Lymburner

964 words – MR


by Morley Lymburner

56 Seconds – A legacy to officers everywhere

Author: Sylvio (Syd) A. Gravel, M.O.M.

Published by: Budd Publishing

The gripping real life story of retired Ottawa police officer and author Syd Gravel. As a young police officer he was forced to shoot a robbery suspect and endured a long walk though the misty flats of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He emerged a changed man, seeking to help others who experience the same self doubting and tumultuous emotions, which can take an enormous toll.

In this brief hard-hitting book the reader is taken through Gravel’s two shooting incidents. It was the second which pushed him over the edge but the first helped set the stage for that fall, since he was convicted and disciplined under the police act.

Gravel eventually began to display and act out the typical behaviours associated with PTSD and recognition was his greatest saviour.

After 25 years of surviving his own demons Gravel wrote about his powerful insights. He identifies and shares how to recognize the eight most common symptoms of PTSD, five healing stages of recovery, how to organize workshops for peer support and the four guiding rules to help others suffering from this phenomenon.

Gravel has helped develop a comprehensive police peer support network which deals effectively with PTSD sufferers and many have recognized this as his legacy to the Ottawa Police Service. This book is a legacy to police officers everywhere.


Truth-focused interviewing for investigations

Author: Kevin Byrnes
Published by: Canada Law Book

This book describes how to use interview techniques to get the truth in any investigation. It includes tips on building rapport, detecting deception, getting your subject talking, verifying the story and ensuring the admissibility of statements in court.

Effective interviewing skills are an essential part of any investigation. This how-to guide offers step-by-step guidance on the communication skills that will help you get the truth from victims, witnesses or suspects and practical tips on every stage of the interview process.

Author Kevin Byrnes shows how to identify and overcome the barriers that impede truth-telling, recognize and interpret verbal and nonverbal behaviours of deceptive and truthful people, connect with people, make them comfortable and uncover the truth. Real-world examples gleaned from Byrnes’ 28 year career as a police officer show exactly which techniques work and why.

Byrnes, who works with Human Potential Consultants Inc. (HPCI), is a designated child abuse and sexual assault investigator for York Regional Police (YRP). He has trained a variety of investigators, including police and security officers and supervisors, and has taught police foundations. He is currently assigned to the YRP Integrated Domestic Violence Unit.

This book is a to-the-point narrative directed to anyone interested in forensic interviewing. It is well compiled, appropriately indexed and credible. After all, focusing on the truth is what interviewers ultimately want to achieve.


Evidence and investigation: from the crime scene to the courtroom

Author: Kerry Watkins, Gail Anderson & Vincenzo Rondinelli
Publisher: Emond Montgomery Publications

This book comes with an established pedigree in that its genesis was the 1998 , written by James Euale, Nora Rock, Dianne Martin and Jillan Sadek. It falls within the ‘police college between the covers’ genre – a study text which can train any novice about the basic functioning of the Canadian criminal justice system and machinations of investigative and prosecutorial processes.

The preface describes the contents appropriately.

<This book is divided into three parts. Part I provides a working knowledge of the law of evidence, explaining the basics of a criminal trial, the types of evidence and the rules governing admissibility.

Part II includes a description of the current law governing search and seizure activities and the requirements for Charter-compliant searches. The importance of continuity and the collection of evidence free of contamination is emphasized, as is the importance of accurate record-keeping. The authors outline the most current information on digital evidence, DNA evidence, crime labs, death investigations and the forensic sciences. The rules and techniques that apply to conducting interviews with both witnesses and suspects are clearly set out.

Part III returns to the courtroom, focusing first on the legal duty of disclosure and the associated obligations on police, then turning to a detailed discussion of testifying, with a particular focus on cross-examination – an often gruelling and little-understood stage of a trial for police officers.

A wealth of advice is provided on how to function professionally in the witness box and give evidence fully, fairly and firmly. The text concludes with an exploration of the intimate connection between evidence, error and justice by offering suggested ways in which investigators and other professionals can reduce both the risk of error and the effect of errors that do happen.>

The book is well researched, edited and compiled, with an excellent index and glossary of terminologies. It includes annotations on each page which not only clue in the reader but reduce the amount of page flipping needed to understand the contents. A most welcome addition to any college, university or police training facility.


Investigating impaired drivers: 2nd Edition

Editors: Bryce Pashovitz and Therese Koturbash
Publisher: Maple Book Publications

This book will help find the information needed to successfully investigate and prosecute impaired driving offences. The authors asked police and prosecutors what they needed and included practical checklists and many new cases.

The book is well researched and indexed, making it easy to find answers in a hurry. No patrol officer should be without this text in their briefcase. Anyone with a concern about drinking drivers will soon put it to good use – and the pages should be well worn and tattered in short order.

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