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DebraW
11-07-2007, 06:39 AM
Showdown over patrol car staffing

Wed, July 11, 2007
By AJAY BHARDWAJ, SUN MEDIA

City police and the union that represents cops are on a collision course over the number of two-officer cars on the road, with the Edmonton Police Association ready to file a grievance over the issue.

The police service and association have a "decades-old" memorandum of agreement about the ratio of two-man to one-man cars on the road at all times, said Edmonton Police Association vice-president Tony Simioni.

"We have the feeling that they're not taking the issue seriously," he said.

Since a new policing model went into effect at the end of April, the police service hasn't met that ratio at all, Simioni charged yesterday.

"The bottom line is we want our members to be safe," Simioni said. "Not once since the beginning of the (new policing model) has that ratio been met."

Deputy chief Darryl da Costa disputed Simioni's assertions.

He said city police are regularly fielding a number of two-man cars. With summer vacations, a number of officers are booked off.

"We're not hitting (the ratio) as consistently," he said. "Basically, we're committed to meeting our two-person deployment model. I can understand the association's concerns."

Neither Simioni nor da Costa would reveal the ratio for fear of jeopardizing officer safety.

Simioni said the union is ready to stand its ground.

"We are in the position of drawing a line in the sand over two-man cars," he said. "We're certainly examining our options," including filing a grievance.

Simioni added the two sides are trying to work through the difficulties.

Da Costa agreed, adding as more police recruits graduate in the near future, they can join the front lines and help meet the ratio.

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DebraW
11-07-2007, 06:40 AM
Drug squad takes a hit
Just one city police officer left in the unit for next two months

Wed, July 11, 2007
By SUN MEDIA

The Edmonton police drug unit has been temporarily depleted to one officer with a number of cops being moved to other "high-priority" sections. Critics charge it's an invitation for drug dealers and crime to go through the roof.

"Morale's at an all-time low," said a police source. "All the crime is drug driven. All the guys who buy drugs are the ones doing the crime."

Two detectives from the squad were moved to internal affairs but soon are expected to return, sources said. Up to eight others have been moved to homicide and other investigational sections where their expertise is needed.

Edmonton Police Association vice president Tony Simioni said the move worries the union that represents cops.

"We're always concerned about the erosion of services that we provide," said Simioni. "How far do you go before you dismantle things?"

Simioni said the reassignments are for 60 days.

Some officers worry that the move gives criminals the ticket to set up shop in the city because no one's keeping the heat on them.

The drug squad is usually out on the street, developing sources, learning who's trafficking drugs and who's buying. It is also involved in executing search warrants.

University of Alberta criminologist Bill Pitt questioned the move.

"I think taking apart the drug section and the intelligence that goes along with it is short-sighted," said Pitt, adding homicides and other violence around town is fuelled by drugs. He added it will have a ripple effect.

"The summer's always slow," said one officer, adding a number of officers go on holidays during the summer.

He said some drug dealers also seem to take time off.

The police homicide section must be "embattled," given the number of cases detectives are asked to solve, Pitt said.

The city had 39 murders in 2005 and 36 last year.

The homicide section has been leaning on detectives in the criminal investigation sections in other divisions for help because of the sheer number of cases they face.

City police need more manpower, Pitt said.

Officials didn't return repeated calls yesterday.

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snakes on a blog
11-07-2007, 10:41 AM
Critics charge it's an invitation for drug dealers and crime to go through the roof.
I would think publishing this information in the media is the invitation for drug dealers.

DebraW
11-07-2007, 10:57 AM
Yup, I think it is a thinly veiled call to action for more police officers.