Monday, November 29, 2010

Letter to the Chief

So I got something in my mailbox that probably shouldn't have riled me up... but it did. I guess it did because I'm so sick and tired of the City cherry picking the By-Laws it chooses to enforce. If it's something that'll make them money, they're after you. If it's something that will require effort for them, you can wait.
The note was in regard to my required alarm permit. It was sent to a house I used to live at, and the resident there forwarded it to me. I used to have a "monitored alarm". It rang a central station somewhere, and they sent out a car to look to see if there were obvious signs of a break in. The security guard would then call Police. In exchange for this, I had to get a permit from the Winnipeg Police Service.

The WPS stopped responding to alarms some time ago. Makes sense, since we've all been a little red faced about setting off our alarm and had to explain it to the control center. (I never did have one that said "STOP! This is Alarm Force! Police are being notified!" since I didn't think it would matter that much, and the bad guys wouldn't run away like they do in the commercial).

I'm going to guess that being Police Chief isn't' an easy job. I can't say I've liked many of our past Chiefs, and while this one seemed OK at the start, I can't say I'm too impressed with him either. Sure, I know, "Yip away, but who will you call when you really need them?" Yes. You're right. Today they are not appreciated, yet when in need they are there and we expect them to be here to help us. I get that, but the same is true of any "service" provider. My note to the Chief is included below in red.

Dear Chief McCaskill,

Thank you for your recent letter to me regarding an alarm I had at a previous address. The pertinent information is enclosed so that you can update your records. This property was sold almost four years ago, and since I live down the street, (after moving three more times since then), I assume that the current owner delivered this to my mailbox.
I’d like to take this time to provide you with a little feedback, since it was you who contacted me.
Winnipegger’s have alarms for a reason. They have to protect their things from a growing number of people who have no respect for personal property. It would appear that you’ve lost control of the City insofar as personal property and personal safety goes. Winnipegger’s who choose to have alarms are asked to pay “permit fee” for which you quote a by-law number in your letter. Permit holders probably expect more from the WPS than a “drive by” by a cruiser car a full day after the alarm.
We in the West End have a whole host of by-laws we’d love to see enforced, but I suppose that since this one is closer to your heart, it receives special attention from your force.  Since the revenue appears to go directly to the WPS, I can see why you’ve taken the time to “remind” people. It makes you money.
Is illegal dumping in back lanes and auto bins enforceable under the Highway Traffic Act, (since a vehicle is used to transport the garbage being dumped illegally)? Any chance we could get you the license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions so you could do something to thwart this behaviour? The City by-law officers apparently can’t access the MPI data base, making them semi-useless in this matter. Of course, there’s no money in this for you.
As well, I noticed you’ve taken to enforcing traffic laws a little more diligently, (I see the quota filling officers at the Foody Goody parking lot waiting to get the “no left turn” violators turning east on Ellice off Empress), and while I think that’s great, I also think that’s probably something you could get the officers to do after they’ve cleared up the backlog of other things you have outstanding. It’s a bit like painting your house while the roof is leaking. The priorities seem a bit out of sync with what we’d like to see really going on in “the ‘hood”. That said there does appear to be money in that enforcement, at least for some branch of the government. If traffic is something you’d like to concentrate on, might I suggest doing something about the rash of errant bicyclists passing vehicles on the right in November. Not only are they a hazard to themselves and others, it’s against the law. So is riding a bike the wrong way up a one-way, riding through red lights and stop signs… I suppose there’s no need to go on. It would appear to the casual observer that the officers I’ve seen ignoring these actions have not been told to enforce those things. After all, you can’t get blood from a stone, or money from someone who doesn’t have a license you can threaten them with loosing.
Further to “the ‘hood”, we still have the (used) condoms tossed in our yard from the working girls and their Johns who do business on the corner, (and often close the deal in our lane, or on the street), and we still enjoy the drunks publicly urinating against our home or on the boulevard.  Any chance you could follow up with them?Again, I know there’s no money in that, but I guess there is in those red light cameras your WPS stats show are a “safety tool” but MPI’s show the contrary. I guess we need to follow the money again. By the way, what percentage of the revenue is from speeding, and how much is from red light violations? And the gun registry you support. Another money grab with no results to make us any safer The criminals are resorting to ever more gunplay in spite of this Liberal boondoggle the NDP has helped prop up with the help of many of the police chiefs.
Thank you for the new logo, slogan, and the promise of a fancy new helicopter, but I think a few extra cars and a couple of beat cops might be in order, that is as long as they don’t need them in the North End, where you’ve lost even the semblance of control.



I'm not sure if I'm being harsh or rude, just that we're in an era where we are "Building Relationships", and frankly I'm not so sure I like where the WPS is going. Feel safe? Have a bat beside your bed? Just inside the door? Been a victim of a B&E? Had a bike stolen (or 2)? A car stolen?

This isn't about not appreciating the Officers or their work. It's about the decisions that affect HOW the Officers do their work. The knee jerk reactions of a "presence" in the North End. Hey. 
HEY! I worked in the North End 5 years ago. Every day, Pritchard, Magnus, Selkirk. Police tape pretty much every Monday morning. Did I really need to type a HEY! to get your attention? Clearly someone had to shoot 3 people to get the Chief's. These aren't new problems... why did it take SOOOOOO long for a reaction?

I'm not a Police Man. I'm not a chief, but I know that if I don't foresee a problem, and I don't find solutions, my clients send me packing . It's my job, and having a press conference asking (again) for the public's help because they have no leads is like me asking my client how to do my job. It doesn't instill a lot of confidence.

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