Pubdate: Wed, 03 Oct 2007
Source: Langley Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Langley Times
Author: Monique Tamminga
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)


A major with the French police is getting a feel for what it's like to
be a police officer in Langley and other parts of the Lower Mainland,
including Surrey and the Downtown Eastside.

French Gendarmerie Jean-Francois Tripogney, commander of airport
security in the county of de Lyon, arrived in Langley Sept. 16. He
will stay until Oct. 11.

Since his arrival, he's spent time on the road with local officers
doing general duty, he's flown at night with Air One, enforced the
Fraser River with the RCMP's marine section, worked with the drug and
serious crime sections and looked at the Mounties' training facility
in Chilliwack.

"We don't have the same Criminal Code as you do and we have a
different judicial system," said Tripogney of the differences in policing.

"Our judicial system is more in favour of policing. Police officers
can carry out a search without a warrant, however we can't go and
search a house between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m." he said.

Because of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, police have to
produce evidence to a judge who then has to decide whether a search
warrant is approved.

Here to learn better English, federal RCMP in Ottawa picked Langley
because "it's a progressive detachment, it's a good size and we are
able to facilitate things for him," said Langley RCMP spokesperson
Cpl. Peter Thiessen.

Tripogney was surprised to see how many marijuana grow operations are
in residential homes, the prevalence of B.C. bud and its tie to
organized crime.

"In France, trafficking marijuana is a serious penalty with years in
prison," he said. "Maybe that's why we don't have a problem."

While B.C. bud is the drug of choice in this province, wine still
remains the most popular addiction in France, he said.

But Langley's social problems are the same as those found in

Three months ago, the homeless set up tent cities in popular tourist
areas of France to protest the lack of social housing. Since then, the
French government has tried to refit buildings to address this, he

France doesn't have the gun problem like Canada does, mainly because
of the strict rules required to purchase a gun in his country and all
the neighbouring countries like Germany, Spain and

B.C. has the U.S. below it and a very big border to police, he

Tripogney pointed out the difference in policing, with French police
only patrolling four hours a day, and not going out to nearly as many
calls as RCMP do.

"We don't respond to many calls. If we got a call about someone
driving onto the median or driving left then right, we would not go to
that. Only if there is danger," he said.

There are police stations in every village in France, no matter how
small, but each detachment has very few officers. There are fewer
female officers in France.

The population is nearly double that of Canada's and doesn't have the
wilderness challenges this province presents, he said.

In France, officers are only allowed to go out on patrol if there are
two in the car. Langley RCMP patrol by themselves.

As for how our coffee and food compares to France, a country hailed
for its taste in finer foods and wines, Tripogney was polite, saying
we, unlike the United States, have 'civilized' food, offerings lots of
vegetables and fruits.

As for coffee, which the French are famous for their outdoor cafes, he
doesn't drink it, but Mounties sure do, he said with a smile.

He believes they must drink a lot of coffee to stay alert for such
long shifts.

When he leaves Langley to fly home out of Vancouver Airport, he feels
secure about flying.

"I've been two years at airport security and you have to expect risk.
We work to minimize that risk," he said. "It's the same everywhere."
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake