Pubdate: Thu, 08 Aug 2002
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Times Colonist
Author: John A. Laidlaw


I am afraid I cannot agree that using police dogs to search vehicles on the 
ferry for drugs was an unwarranted invasion of our privacy.

If the report be accurate, that warrants were obtained (via Internet, I 
assume) on the evidence of odours found by trained dogs, and that only 
those cars so identified were searched, then there was nothing done wrong 
- -- unless it be that all attempts to stop crimes before they get away are 
wrong, and that a police constable can only act, either on the evidence of 
his own observations, or on credible sworn complaints from others.

In that the police were targeting a selection of vehicles, they must do 
this all the time, whether it be in a radar watch, or at a "sniffing 
station," looking for drunken drivers.

In this case, they know that the product comes to the mainland from the 
Island. Evidently, it must come across the strait, and ferry travel is much 
cheaper, and less scrutinized -- at least hitherto -- than air traffic, and 
both air and boat traffic would pose risks that the traffickers would 
rather not take.

Hence, it is a reasonable assumption that the ferries are the means. I 
suggest that it is, in those terms, the best possible use of rare, and 
expensive, police time.

The cars are not moving, no one but those whose cars are shown to be laden 
with pot are delayed in their travel, and the police are not rushed into 
doing a less than thorough job.

Bravo, say I, and I hope that there are more such searches. If I were 
foolish enough to try to move the product -- or even use it (God forbid!) 
- -- then I would expect to be caught.

If I am law-abiding (as I am) then I have nothing to fear, as the police 
are far too busy with real crimes to manufacture ones.

John A. Laidlaw,

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