Pubdate: Sat, 25 Nov 2017
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Doug Kirkland
Page: A10


Officers can't nab owners because of resource woes, says Doug Kirkland

A Citizen report Nov. 18 quotes Judge Norm Boxall on the Ottawa Police
Service's failure to charge the owners and backers of illegal
marijuana distribution shops.

Sentencing a young budtender from a Rideau Street shop, he said: "I
just don't understand how the police cannot shut down a

I understand the context of his statements, but the judge, despite his
distinguished legal background, has the wrong target.

Judge Boxall has always shown respect for the police in his former
work as a defence counsel, and police have always had respect for his
position and integrity. I understand his frustration on the specific
case before him.

But he also should be aware the target should not be the rank-and-file
police officer, nor the command structure of the police service. It
sticks deep in the craw of every working police officer to not bring
the real profiteers in illegal marijuana dispensaries to answer in the

What is true? Ottawa Police do not have the resources now to do the
proper depth investigations needed for a reasonable prospect of a
conviction of the real villains: the owners and backers of the shops.

The real target of judicial scorn should be one tier above the police.
Look to the Ottawa Police Services Board, city council and the mayor.
Six years of cutting funding; not replacing retirees with at least the
same number of recruits; creating gaps in the seniority chain; and
forcing reductions in service levels onto the community - including
not just drug investigations but gangs, frauds, traffic enforcement
and all other special units.

In news reports, the politicians express their disappointment over the
police services. Yet, they - and they alone - are responsible for the
situation of understaffing and the efficiency gaps. The politicians
believe they know how to run a police service.

Clearly, from all the staffing problems and demands to fix the panic
"cause of the day," they do not know. What they do know is how to
financially squeeze the service to the point it becomes inefficient
and ineffective. But they take no responsibility for their own actions
- - on that score, they are very effective.

Judge Boxall, please shift your focus to the real reasons this city's
police service is not able to do what you are asking.

Believe me, Your Honour, members of the police service regret the same
things, and more.

- --------------------------------------------------------------------

Doug Kirkland served with the Ottawa Police Service from 1975 to 2000.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt