Thursday, January 31

WISH centre to stay open longer

Hours fall short of Wally Oppal's recommendation of round-the-clock operation

BY MIKE HOWELL, STAFF WRITER JANUARY 31, 2013

A Downtown Eastside drop-in centre that provides a refuge for up to 120 survival sex trade workers per night will substantially extend its operating hours this Friday.

But whether the WISH drop-in centre will ever open around the clock as recommended by Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal is

unclear.

The centre, which normally operates for five hours per evening in an undisclosed location, will now open for 17 hours, from 6 p.m. to 11 a.m.

The centre is able to extend its hours because of a $750,000 grant from the provincial government related to a recommendation from Oppal in his report.

"At this time, we have asked WISH to work within the $750,000 funding increase to improve services for women in the community," the provincial housing ministry said in a statement emailed to the Courier. "B.C. Housing [the government's housing branch] will meet with WISH management in six months to review the budget and determine if additional hours can be added with the funding provided."

In releasing his report in December, Oppal urged the government to immediately provide funding to existing centres that provide emergency services to women in the sex trade to enable them to open 24 hours per day.

"The need to save women's lives should be sufficient to counter arguments based on fiscal limitations," Oppal wrote.

Roberta Robertson, a member of WISH's board of directors, said additional staff will be hired and more food will be served, but more supplies are needed and utility bills will increase.

"We're taking it slow and steady," Robertson said. "We're very appreciative of the money. We wish that it didn't have to come from the circumstances for which it came."

Currently, 80 to 120 women from the survival sex trade rely on the centre, where there are shower and laundry facilities, a learning centre and computers. The women can access a nurse and obtain clean clothing donated to the centre.

The centre does not offer beds and there are no plans to put mats on the floor, as some shelters do, said Robertson, who wasn't sure whether a bump in hours will translate to more women using the

facility.

"We're quite interested to see if we'll be getting new women who come in who we don't usually see for whatever reason and we're hoping that will be the case," she added.

City council heard Tuesday that work is underway to hire two community liaison positions to be filled by individuals who have experience in the sex trade.

Mary Clare Zak, the city's director of social policy, estimated the overall cost of the positions at $150,000. The city is also working with the Vancouver Police Department to reduce the number of tickets issued to marginalized people for minor offences - another recommendation in the Oppal report.

"What tends to happen is if people have been issued a ticket, for example, they may not feel comfortable going to police to report an assault, to report abuse, to report a crime," Zak told the Courier. "That goes for vulnerable populations across the board."

mhowell@vancourier.com

twitter.com/Howellings

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Police make arrest in Felker murder

  • Frances Barrick, Record staff
  • Thu Jan 31 2013 11:17:00

kelsey louise felker

WATERLOO REGION – A 37-year-old Kitchener man has been arrested in connection with the slaying of Kelsey Louise Felker.

Stephen Johnson has been charged with first-degree murder and indignity to a dead body. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

The pair knew each other, said Olaf Heinzel, spokesperson for Waterloo Regional Police.

“At this stage, investigators have reason to believe they knew each other, they knew of each other,” Heinzel said.

Felker’s dismembered torso was found Saturday in a garbage bin behind an apartment building at 250 Frederick St. in Kitchener, about two blocks down from the police station.

Johnson was arrested at 4 a.m. Thursday without incident at the Knights Inn on Weber Street East in Kitchener, Heinzel said.

The police investigation is continuing and no other arrests are expected, he said.

The investigators “don’t anticipate anyone else being connected to this.”

At the request of the family, police released a photograph of Felker provided by the family.

“They would like that she be remembered from this photo that they have provided when she was 15,” Heinzel said.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook memorial page for Felker, friends posted that a candlelight memorial will be held for the 24-year-old Kitchener woman at Kitchener City Hall on Monday at 9 p.m. Candles and Felker’s picture will be handed out.

It was also posted on the Facebook page that a trust fund has been set up for the family to help them through this tragedy. Go to any TD Canada Trust branch to donate under account number 244-6334344, the post said.

fbarrick@therecord.com

Woman, 24, whose torso was found in a garbage bin, is remembered as sweet but troubled

  • Brent Davis, Record staff
  • Tue Jan 29 2013 23:51:00

kelsey felker_facebook page

KITCHENER — Kelsey Louise Felker was a sweet, but vulnerable young woman whose troubled life came to a gruesome end.

Felker’s dismembered torso was discovered Saturday morning in a garbage bin behind a Kitchener apartment building. Investigators are working to determine how the 24-year-old Kitchener woman died.

Police identified Felker on Tuesday.

“She was fundamentally a decent person,” said lawyer Brennan Smart, who had represented Felker over the past six years or so as the drug-addicted woman navigated the criminal justice system.

“She wasn’t a hard person at all. She was always pleasant to deal with,” he said. “But you couldn’t help but be discouraged in dealing with her.”

Felker had a powerful addiction to crack cocaine, Smart said.

“It was sad to hear that it was Kelsey that had come to an end in such an undignified manner,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s not out of left field.”

Typically, Smart would represent Felker when she was charged with failing to comply with conditions of her release. Smart said she didn’t steal to support her habit.

About a year and a half ago, Smart succeeded in getting Felker into drug treatment court.

Drug treatment court seeks to provide support, therapy and incentives to non-violent offenders trapped in an addictive cycle. She was not successful.

“She clearly was not interested in pursuing that path at that time,” Smart said.

Her biological father, Kent Felker of Guelph, said while the pair didn’t see each other very much, his daughter would call him periodically.

“She was a very caring girl,” he said.

“She was a good girl.”

Kent Felker said his daughter was adopted and raised by a family living in Waterloo Region.

“There is another side to her. She was not just another crackhead.”

Over the years, Smart got to know Kelsey Felker’s mother and brother.

“The family was supportive of her, but they recognized they had gone as far as they could go with her,” he said.

“They were the most hopeful of anyone that she would come to grips with the addiction and deal with it … I’m sure they’re heartbroken.”

Smart said Felker gave birth to at least two children while she was in custody at different times at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton.

The babies were immediately taken from Felker by authorities.

A Facebook memorial page was created on Tuesday night with dozens of people expressing their sympathy.

Waterloo Regional Police said that information from the public regarding the black T-shirt that was covering Felker’s torso was an important factor in identifying the remains. The T-shirt had a slogan reading “Forget princess, I want to be a vampire.”

Felker was not listed by police as a missing person prior to Saturday’s discovery.

“She was actually reported missing by a friend shortly after the discovery was made public,” Insp. Kevin Thaler said.

In the wake of the discovery, police received numerous calls from concerned family members wondering about missing loved ones.

“It’s encouraging that we’ve been able to identify this victim,” Thaler said. “At least one family out there knows.”

An autopsy started Monday continued Tuesday in Hamilton.

The superintendent at 250 Frederick St., where Felker’s torso was found, said she did not live in the 16-storey apartment building.

Investigators continue to appeal to the public for information. Police said Felker was five-feet, two-inches tall and had bleached blond hair when she was last seen.

“Every investigative lead we get we’re going to follow up,” Thaler said. “You can never have too much evidence in a case.”

Those who knew Felker said her death brought an already-sad life to an untimely end.

“She died far too young,” Smart said. “She had a lot of life to live.”

Anyone finding suspicious articles on or near their property is asked to call police at 519-653-7700. Anyone with information about the case can also call the homicide branch at 519-650-8500, ext. 8666, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

With files from Frances Barrick and Greg Mercer, Record staff

Tuesday, January 29

More cash needed for inquiry recommendations

More cash needed for inquiry recommendations | Local | News | Vancouver 24 hrs:

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City of Vancouver to hire liaison workers to improve safety for sex-trade workers

BY DARAH HANSEN, VANCOUVER SUN JANUARY 29, 2013 6:03 PM

The City of Vancouver is planning to hire two women with a background in the sex trade to link vulnerable sex trade workers with police, the city and neighbourhoods.

Photograph by: CARL DE SOUZA, AFP/Getty Images

The City of Vancouver is planning to hire two women with a background in the sex trade to link vulnerable sex trade workers with police, the city and neighbourhoods.

The creation of the community liaison positions is part of the city’s response to recommendations that came out of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry last year.

The liaison workers “will engage with people in the sex trade on the ground. They will have a lot of power because of that knowledge and know-how,” Mary Clare Zak, city director of social policy, said in a presentation to council Tuesday.

Zak said the role demands an understanding of the often complex social issues involved in the sex trade, and information from the liaison workers will help the city tackle some of the systemic problems faced by vulnerable women.

Of the 63 recommendations made by inquiry commissioner and former attorney general Wally Oppal in a 1,468-page report released Dec. 17, most were directed at reforming the criminal justice system and policing, including the creation of a regional police force.

Just three were specific to Vancouver — where the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood had been home to the majority of the missing women — and aimed at minimizing the risk to sex trade workers and improving community safety.

Zak said the city and the Vancouver police department are also working to reduce the number of court warrants issued for minor offences such as jaywalking, public urination and illegal vending to better ensure vulnerable women with outstanding warrants aren’t deterred from reporting violence.

VPD Deputy Chief Const. Doug LePard said changes have been made in the way police view sex workers, including how officers respond to reported crimes linked to the trade, with an aim to reduce safety risks.

Included in those efforts was a decision last year to change the name of the unit assigned to police the sex trade. The former term “vice” was archaic and held moral implications, LePard said. The team is now referred to as the counter-exploitation unit.

LePard said many predators continue to victimize vulnerable women on the Downtown Eastside and elsewhere in the region.

However, since the arrest of serial killer Robert Pickton in 2002, police maintain there have been no unexplained cases of missing sex-trade workers.

Marlene George, chair of the Feb 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee, called the city’s efforts to date “good first steps.” But she said more must be done to ensure women are kept safe, including the creation of affordable and safe housing so women are not sexually exploited just for a place to stay.

The annual Feb. 14 march is expected to draw thousands of men and women to Main and Hastings Street to honour the lives of the women who have been murdered or gone missing from the community.

A separate event is scheduled for Feb. 13 to acknowledge the most recent victim of violence: 28-year-old Chelsea Rose Holden, who was stabbed to death last March.

“We need to remember,” said George.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called for a moment of silence Tuesday in honour of the city’s missing and murdered women “who we will never forget.”

dahansen@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/darahhansen

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Thursday, January 24

Defence statements filed in cop's fetish photo civil suit

By Sarah Payne - The Tri-City News
Published: January 22, 2013 10:00 PM

Two of the four defendants named in a civil suit launched by a Coquitlam RCMP officer after his online fetish photos were made public have filed their responses.

Cpl. James Brown filed the lawsuit last November in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, claiming damages for "substantial and persisting injury to the plaintiff's reputation, injury to his pride and self-confidence, and severe emotional distress."

The suit names New Westminster resident Grant Wakefield, Vancouver lawyer Cameron Ward and two unidentified people, who Wakefield names in his response as Denman Island residents Mike Webster, a well known police psychologist, and his wife, Moira Webster.

Brown's suit alleges Wakefield set up false profiles to access the members-only fetish website Fetlife, where he then copied Brown's online profile information and photos. He is then alleged to have sent the material to the media, as well as Ward, resulting in the unlawful breach of Brown's privacy.

Brown alleged the resulting media coverage, as well as posts on blogs and Twitter, were caused by the defendants and either stated or implied Brown is corrupt, has engaged in criminal activity with numerous victims, poses a risk to society and is violent and sadistic.

Cameron Ward, who represented several families of the missing women during the Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry, was named in the suit for three blog posts in which Brown is said to be a sexual sadist with close ties to the Pickton family.

Brown's lawsuit alleges the posts suggest the RCMP knew of Pickton's killing spree but failed to act "for fear of implicating one or more of their members in criminal activity," due to Brown's "lifestyle and predilections."

Brown has said he played a minor role in the Robert Pickton murder investigation in 1999, forwarding the information of a witness to the Vancouver Police Department and conducting surveillance shifts of the Pickton property.

Ward's response to the civil claim, however, alleges Brown "received highly relevant information provided by an informant, Ross Caldwell" and "The information... was accurate and, if it had been adequately followed up, might have led to the apprehension of Pickton three years before he was ultimately arrested."

Ward also notes his blog posts related to the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, not on the murders committed by Pickton or the investigation leading to his arrest.

He also denies the "statements attributed to him there are false and defamatory of the plaintiff as alleged" and notes the blog posts have since been removed.

In explanation of the legal basis of his claim, Ward states "the extracts from the blog posts... do not bear the meanings attributed to them by the plaintiff" and were a "fair comment on a matter of public interest."

Wakefield has also filed a response to the civil suit, in which he repeats many of the statements and allegations against Brown.

He claims to have been working under contract with the RCMP to collect evidence against Brown "due to my investigative background and close ties within the RCMP."

Wakefield states that Fetlife is a free website to which anyone can gain access and therefore Brown did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

The claims in the various documents have not been proven in court.

spayne@tricitynews.com

Defence statements filed in cop's fetish photo civil suit

The Tri-City News - Defence statements filed in cop's fetish photo civil suit:

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Robert Pickton case cited in Cameron Ward’s civil claim

Robert Pickton case cited in Cameron Ward’s civil claim | Georgia Straight:

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Monday, January 21

Vancouver police to endorse recommendations for regional police force

The recommendations related to policing were made by Wally Oppal following the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry last year

BY ZOE MCKNIGHT, VANCOUVER SUN JANUARY 21, 2013 1:40 PM

jim chu

The Vancouver Police Department will officially endorse all recommendations related to policing made by Wally Oppal following the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry last year, including the creation of a regional police force for Greater Vancouver.

In an administrative report set to be presented to the police board on Tuesday, Chief Jim Chu writes that the VPD is committed to implementing dozens of Oppal's recommendations that apply to the force.

Among them: The appointment of advisers, including an aboriginal elder for consultations surrounding a reconciliation process; external "equality audits" of B.C. police forces regarding the protection of aboriginal and other vulnerable women from violence; that the government set a provincial standard for non-discriminatory policing; the creation of a statutory provision regarding the legal "duty to warn" the public about threats to safety; that police forces work with community groups to effectively implement a duty to warn.

The VPD will also endorse: a recommendation that the provincial government fund research on vulnerable populations as witnesses, including judicial bias, drug/alcohol dependency and involvement in the sex trade; creation of a protocol stemming from that research; that officers undergo sensitivity or anti-oppression training and "make prevention of violence against aboriginal women a genuine priority"; that the province fund additional sex-trade liaison office positions in other Metro Vancouver police forces, and ensure the VPD's two aboriginal liaison officers work with the missing persons unit.

Former Attorney-General Wally Oppal set out 63 recommendations for policing and policy in B.C. in a 1,468-page report released Dec. 17, including the creation of a regional police force.

At the time, Chu offered an unequivocal apology for mistakes the VPD made during the years that dozens of women went missing from the Downtown Eastside, saying the "force could have and should have" caught convicted murderer Robert Pickton sooner.

Oppal was critical of the mistakes made by Coquitlam RCMP and VPD investigators, and the lack of information-sharing across jurisdictions that hindered the investigation. He also argued that more studies are not needed on regional policing, which has been debated for decades and has long divided the region's mayors.

In December, Chu declined to weigh in on the creation on a regional police force, saying it was up to politicians to decide.

Attorney-General Shirley Bond has acknowledged the province recently signed a 20-year contract with the RCMP, but noted there's an opt-out clause whould there be a decision to move to another policing model.

Oppal's final report and the VPD response comes more than two years after the $8-million inquiry was struck to examine the missing women case, and more than a decade since Pickton's arrest.

zmcknight@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Vancouver police chief gives nod to calls for regional police force

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS JANUARY 21, 2013 9:20 AM

VANCOUVER - Vancouver's police chief says his department supports a key recommendation from the Robert Pickton inquiry for a regional police force across B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

Chief Jim Chu makes the comments in an administrative report to the Vancouver Police Board, outlining for the first time the force's official response to the 63 recommendations from inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal.

Chu declined comment on whether he favoured a single, unified police force when the recommendations were released last month, although Oppal's plan immediately renewed a debate that has long divided the region's mayors.

Oppal concluded serial killer Robert Pickton was able to evade arrest for years, in part because he picked up sex workers in Vancouver and murdered them in Port Coquitlam — exploiting rivalries and poor communication between city police and the suburban RCMP.

Oppal also found bias against sex workers was a key factor in the botched investigation, and he called for the renewal of the now-disbanded Vancouver Police and Native Liaison Society.

But Chu notes the city already has the Aboriginal Community Police Centre, which he says is doing the job of the former Vancouver Police and Native Liaison Society.

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry released its findings Dec. 17, examining why police failed to catch Pickton until his arrest in February 2002.

VPD answers Missing Women Inquiry recommendations

VPD answers Missing Women Inquiry recommendations | Local | News | Vancouver 24 hrs:

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Friday, January 18

Amber - (Original by "Chris Yenney"). "Project Amber" - for the missing.

How the horrific case of serial killer William Pickton, who may have killed up to 50 women, shone light on plight of Vancouver's First Nation women

Deaths led to a nationwide call for justice

David Usborne

The INDEPENDENT

Friday, 18 January 2013

Women vanish from Vancouver’s grimy Downtown Eastside with numbing regularity. But the fact a disproportionate number are of First Nations origin has plunged Canada into a political crisis.

Ernie Crey, an aboriginal Canadian, is angry. It is twelve years since his sister, Dawn, vanished from Vancouver’s downtown eastside – an utterly dismal skid row of slum hotels, pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts, pushers and charities that try to help them – and nine years since he learned that her DNA had been drawn from a pair of bloody women’s knickers on the pig farm of convicted serial-killer William Pickton.

It is worse when you have nothing to bury. Remains from the some victims were found at the farm, 40 minutes outside the city, and given to the families, including cleaved skulls. But nothing of Dawn was recovered. Mr Crey might have ignored the stories of Pickton mincing human flesh with pork meat and selling it to neighbours, or having the victims’ bones boiled down for pet food, but he didn’t. “I have gone there, yes, thought about it,” he admits quietly.

“Not knowing what really happened to her bothers me the most,” says Mr Crey, 63, a member of the Cheam First Nation and a fisheries advisor to the Stolo Tribal Council.  “Barring Pickton coming forward and saying that yes, he was the asshole who killed her and the other women I don’t think I will ever know”.

But Mr Crey is not despairing, in part because the pig-farm murders have not faded from the headlines. Though Pickton was convicted of the second-degree murder of six women in 2007 (the true number of his victims may have been closer to fifty or even higher), and he is now serving life in a federal prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, the case continues to shed light on Canada’s most shameful secret: how its most ignored underclass - indigenous women - is preyed upon by men with impunity, and with terrifying consequences.

Frustration among the country’s First Nations has boiled over in recent weeks with the rise of Idle No More, a protest movement primarily sparked by steps taken by the conservative government of Stephen Harper to water down environmental laws ostensibly to spur economic development.  Indigenous leaders have branded the changes an attack on aboriginal rights and lands while one among them, Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation, is now in the fifth week of a hunger strike on an island across from the national parliament in Ottawa.

Amid the list of grievances that were raised at a summit meeting between First Nations chiefs and Prime Minister Stephen Harper one week ago, and which are voiced daily at protests and blockades of roads, bridges and rail links all across the country, is another issue however. It’s called, very simply: “Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women”.

“I don’t consider them missing, I consider that they are murdered,” Kate Gibson, Executive Director of WISH, a charity that operates a ‘drop-in’ for women sex-workers where they can eat a meal, clean up and socialise without fear of violence from pimps or johns. The night the news of Pickton’s arrest showed up on TV sets at the drop-in she watched in astonishment as one woman suddenly exclaimed “but I was at Willy’s just this Monday”. Another burst into tears and ran out into the street.

Aboriginals account for 3-4 per cent of Canada’s population of 35 million.  Yet, of all the women who use the WISH drop-in – upwards of 600 women come through in a year and its kitchen serves 60 to 100 free meals in a single night – an astonishing 57 per cent are from the First Nations. Of the 67 women who were finally listed as missing in Vancouver when Pickton was active, almost two thirds were aboriginal, including Dawn Crey.

The Vancouver affair was shocking by any measure.  After Pickton was convicted and his appeals were rejected, the provincial government of British Columbia ordered a formal enquiry into how the police had handled the Pickton case.  The resulting report, all 1,448 pages of it, has just been released and while many of the victims’ families and their lawyers consider the investigation flawed, or even a whitewash, it still offers a blunt indictment of the city. Humbled by the confirmation that its officers had spent years ignoring claims that prostitutes were going missing, and disregarding tips-offs about Pickton and the pig-farm, the Vancouver Police Department has publicly apologised.  The report also offers 62 recommendations for change - among them, the promise of new funding for groups like WISH.

But the issue goes beyond Vancouver or Pickton. Aboriginal woman are disappearing – or being murdered – with little or no follow-up by the authorities across Canada. A series of cases – officially it is 18, though it could be far higher – have been reported from a stretch of Highway 16 in northern British Columbia alone. The road has been nicknamed the Highway of Tears.

Federal statistics are almost non-existent but the Native Women’s Association of Canada says that as of March 2010 there were 582 documented cases of murdered indigenous women nationally, of which 39 per cent were since 2000. According to government statistics, indigenous women are currently almost seven times more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women in Canada. Gladys Radeck, an activist who is organising a protest walk from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to raise awareness of the problem told The Independent that she has evidence that close to 3000 aboriginal women are currently unaccounted for.

It is because of these numbers that the First Nations, Idle No More - and Mr Crey - are now loudly asserting that the British Columbia probe must immediately be followed up by a national investigation.

“The epidemic of violence against indigenous women and girls in Canada is national problem and it demands a national enquiry,” said Meghan Rhoad of Human Rights Watch.  So far the Harper government has been silent on the issue.

“How shameful is it that our country that is such a beautiful place to live has such a dark corner,” notes Lori-Ann Ellis, whose sister-in law, Cara Ellis, was also amongst Pickton’s victims. Ms Ellis, who says she is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after sitting through the weeks of the BC enquiry, supports a national commission even though Cara was not herself aboriginal. “It just makes me sick that our government can look the other way. Ottawa has to answer that question as to how it is that our women are so disposable.”

Jennifer Allan, who once walked the streets of Calgary, Edmonton and also on the downtown eastside of Vancouver, is similarly adamant. Now, she runs another volunteer centre offering food and other support services to Vancouver prostitutes called Jen’s Kitchen. She has been off drugs for nine years.

“A national enquiry would be a way to show the rest of Canada and the rest of the world that we have a crisis of missing and murdered women,” she explained this week in a Vancouver cafĂ©. “It’s hypocritical how Canada goes after China and other countries for human rights when it pays no attention to its missing First Nation’s women.” According to Ms Allan, Vancouver police took so long to react to the community’s call for help to find the missing women because “in their mind Pickton was cleaning the garbage out for them”.

Ms Gibson of WISH says lots of men enjoy brutalising women during sex and find it easier if they are indigenous. She says these women are in the sex trade in such disproportionate numbers because it is their only choice. “They are victims of discrimination at every turn,” she says, sitting in her office. “This all revolves around colonisation which has broken up the traditions of what was a matrilineal society on the reserves, all of that is busted. We see a society that has had its culture smashed to smithereens, they are screwed.”

No one believes that repairing all that has already been broken will be easy or that a national enquiry will offer an instant panacea. But some, like Ernie Crey, dare to hope that with the Idle No More movement gaining steam, an important moment may have arrived when the issue of missing aboriginal women, among the many other grievances of Canada’s First Nations, might at least be honestly addressed. “I am going to be dogging everyone to get this done, dogging them every inch of the way,” he says.

12th & Cambie: Gregor Robertson reacts to missing women report recommendations

BY MIKE HOWELL, STAFF WRITER JANUARY 7, 2013

When Wally Oppal released his report last month on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, there was a lot of discussion about his recommendation for a regional police force.

Many of the other recommendations didn’t get much, if any, media play, including a couple that relate to city hall. I asked Mayor Gregor Robertson via email about two of them.

I’ll start with this one: That the City of Vancouver create and fund two community-based liaison positions to be filled by individuals who have experience in the survival sex trade.

Robertson: “On the issue of the community-based liaison positions, it sounds like a pragmatic approach that will build on the work from our sex trade task force.”

In September 2011, the city released a so-called action plan titled “Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Protecting Vulnerable Adults and Neighbourhoods Affected by Sex Work.”

The report’s author, deputy city manager David McLellan (now retired), made several recommendations, including convening a citywide task force to implement the actions. One of those actions calls for the city to include people exiting sex work in its “supported employment initiative.” It’s not clear whether the liaison positions suggested by Oppal would fit into this category.

Also, the mayor didn’t indicate how much the positions would cost — follow-up questions are always difficult when receiving an email instead of a phone call — but he pointed out he directed city manager Penny Ballem to report back to council this month on the city-related recommendations in Oppal’s report.

The other recommendation I wondered about concerned Robertson’s role as chairperson of the Vancouver Police Board. For years, the sitting mayor of Vancouver has doubled as the chairperson of the board.

Back in 1994, when Oppal led a wide-ranging review of policing in the province, he recommended mayors not serve on the police board.

Oppal didn’t go that far this time: “I recommend that the Police Act be amended to provide that the mayor is an ex officio member of the [Vancouver Police] Board, but has no voting authority.”

Robertson: “Removing mayors as chairs of police boards is something I’ve called for in the past and it’s good to see it included in the recommendations.”

The mayor has told me a couple of times about the awkward position it puts him in when wearing his police board hat and approving budgets for the police department — then, as mayor, having to decide whether the city has the budget to fund the police.

I didn’t ask him about any of the other recommendations in the report but Robertson made this additional comment: “As for the recommendation on more resources from the division of police services, the police board greatly increased its oversight of the VPD since the late 90s. The board will be reviewing all of the Inquiry recommendations that relate to the VPD and discussing them in our upcoming meetings.”

The board’s next meeting is Jan. 22 while council is scheduled to meet Jan. 15. The recommendation for a regional police force, meanwhile, remains just that — a recommendation until provincial and municipal governments say otherwise.

mhowell@vancourier.com

twitter.com/Howellings

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Thursday, January 17

Awareness: Breaking The Ice for Cold Cases | Terry's Place

Awareness: Breaking The Ice for Cold Cases | Terry's Place:

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The Skeleton Crew: December 2012

The Skeleton Crew: December 2012:


A knotty kind of death

Morgue
In May 1968, a Kentucky man searching for glass utility pole insulators—collectors’ items—along a wooded roadside spots a lumpy bundle tucked under a rock next to a dead red bud tree. Inside is the body of a young woman. She had been rolled up in a dark green tarp, the ends secured with rope tied in square knots.

Fast forward twenty years. A young man in neighboring Tennessee hears the tale of the mystery girl, who has yet to be identified. Her plight resonates with him. The coroner says she, too, is a teenager. She, like the young man’s two siblings who died in infancy, is frozen in time. She’ll never grow old. But she needs a name, and the young man decides he’ll do whatever it takes to find it.

So begins the story of Todd Matthews and Tent Girl.

Tent Girl is one of many across the US who, through an attacker’s ill intent or an accident of fate, became separated, in death, from their names. The Skeleton Crewtraces the stories of such victims—whose treatment at the hands of medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement, and members of the public who "adopt" them—tells a lot about us as a society, about the meaning of identity, about how we view death and its aftermath, and about the power of hope.


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Wednesday, January 16

About Sam "POKEY" GiPson - PEACE4 THE MISSING

About Sam "POKEY" GiPson - PEACE4 THE MISSING:

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The Doe Network  ~ Memorial Garden ~ Liz Chipman

The Doe Network  ~ Memorial Garden ~ Liz Chipman:

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Lynn Frey shows what heart really means

Sian Thomson

Campbell River Courier-Islander

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lynn Frey with granddaughter Brittney and husband Rick.

CREDIT:

Lynn Frey with granddaughter Brittney and husband Rick.

The news of Lynn Frey's death on Christmas Eve brought shock and overwhelming sympathy for her husband Rick and her adopted daughter Brittney. It was unfathomable to most that Lynn Frey would be taken so swiftly and at a time when families come together to celebrate and create memories.

Rick had lost his beloved wife and tenacious champion for their daughter Marnie Frey, a victim of mass murderer Robert Pickton.

Brittney, Marnie's daughter, had lost a mother, again.

Her death was being reported on face book just about the time the woman with so much heart decided not to die.

Not much, it seems, can keep Campbell River's Lynn Frey down.

"Her condition was so grave no one expected her to come back. She actually died that night," Rick said. "They were excellent in the ICU in Campbell River but it was pretty clear she would not make it. I went home and came back up on Christmas morning at 5 a.m. There were tubes everywhere, they had her paralyzed and in a coma. They slowly brought her out of it so she could see me, so we could see each other, and she started to cry."

Lynn had had a heart attack on Christmas Eve. She collapsed at home and Rick, who was luckily close by, performed CPR until help arrived.

"In fact," said Rick, "fire crews and paramedics were tapping me on the shoulder to try to get me to pass the rescue on to them" as he frantically tried to revive his wife.

"The (rescue) services were second to none, so professional, a well-oiled machine, bang, bang, done," said Rick. "Medics zapped her twice to bring her back."

Lynn and Rick are the parents of Marnie Frey who went missing in 1978 and whose DNA was later found at the Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam.

Lynn's heart is only outweighed by her feisty determination and zest for life and nothing it seemed could stop her. Not the disappearance of her daughter Marnie, not the exhaustive search she engaged in while at the same time nursing her dying mother, not the news of Marnie's murder, not the worst serial killer in Canadian history, not a botched investigation or the gruesome details of her daughter's demise, and certainly not dying on Christmas Eve.

A few days later the intubation tube that was breathing for her came out. Lynn started to talk. She was moved to Victoria where, on Dec. 30 she had angioplasty because there was a blockage.

"A stent was put in," said Rick. "What a relief. I was so scared, you don't know what is going to happen. I mean...she had died."

But the Frey family, friends and all the people Lynn has taken care of knew that if anyone could stare death down and win, it was Lynn Frey. After her step-daughter Marnie went missing, Lynn took on the worst serial killer in Canadian history, Robert Pickton.

In September 1998, Frey said she drove to Pickton's farm in suburban Port Coquitlam and tried to climb a fence but was chased away by Rottweillers who were set on her.

"That night when I went there, when I was backing out of the driveway, I had a very weird feeling," she said. "My heart was pounding and I thought at first it was just because I was having anxiety attacks, but I guess it wasn't really an anxiety attack. It was a reality check. She was there." Lynn went back to the farm at least 12 more times.

Frey said after her first visit to the farm, she returned there every time she travelled to Vancouver from Campbell River. Between August 1997 and March 1998 Lynn made over 15 trips to the downtown east side looking for Marnie, while at the same time taking care of her dying mother in Mission, and of Marnie's daughter Brittney, who she and Rick had adopted.

"I just had an awful feeling that something was wrong and I wasn't getting anywhere with the police so I took it upon myself. My mother was dying, so I'd go down there as often as I could and spend time with her during the day and look for Marnie on the streets of Vancouver at night," she said. "I looked in dumpsters, terrible places. I called morgues and hospitals. I listened to rumors about a wood chipper. The police were not looking for her so I had to."

In December 2007, a decade after Marnie Frey disappeared, Pickton was convicted of murdering her and five other women. The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his farm.

Rick would like to pass on his sincere thanks and gratitude to all the people who helped pull Lynn through.

"You cannot say thank you enough for all the people who were helping us," he said. "I always wondered why a fire truck had to accompany paramedics on calls. Now I know. My family and I thought she was dying, thought she was dead...they were so compassionate and patient and caring. Your whole life is flashing before your eyes and the firemen and paramedics, doctors and nurses are all there to hold you up."

Lynn said her nurses in Victoria called her their "miracle girl".

"They always made a fuss of me. It was pretty touching. I get goose bumps talking about it," she said.

Lynn Frey survived pneumonia, heart attack, coma, and surgery against all odds and is home now recovering, but agitated by "all this sitting around.

"I am used to working five days on and two days off, up at 5 a.m., home at 4 p.m." said Lynn.

A care aide worker at a senior's home, the doctors say she should be back to 100 per cent in about four months.

sthomson@courierislander.com

© Campbell River Courier-Islander 2013

Saturday, January 12

Mayors to talk policing

Politicians will discuss idea of a regional force

BY JEREMY DEUTSCH, COQUITLAM NOW JANUARY 11, 2013

At various times, politicians from all three Tri-Cities municipalities have mused separately about the various policing models for each community.

Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam have signed on for the RCMP, while Port Moody continues with its municipal force.

In a few short weeks, elected officials from all three cities will get together to discuss another law and order option - a regional police force.

The meeting, which is planned for the end of the month, is essentially an education session for politicians, and is set to include guest speakers who will provide arguments both for and against the idea of regional policing.

The session was inspired by PoCo Mayor Greg Moore following the release of a report into missing women linked to serial killer Robert Pickton.

The 1,400-plus page report, which was based on an inquest headed by former attorney general Wally Oppal, recommended a regional police force for the Lower Mainland.

Moore said he saw the issue as a big topic in his own city and figured there was a way for all three municipalities to come together.

"Since this is going to be a very topical issue for us in local government in the

coming year, it makes a lot of sense that we bring in some experts to help us understand this issue more," he told The NOW.

Moore has been in contact with Oppal to have him attend the session as a guest speaker, but nothing has been confirmed.

Earlier this year, cities across the province signed on to a new 20-year RCMP contract.

But the contract rankled several municipalities and local politicians, who argued cities didn't get a big enough say in the deal.

As a result, several cities waited until the last minute to sign on to the deal, while others said they would consider other policing models when the two-year opt-out clause comes up.

Port Coquitlam, along with Burnaby, Richmond and North Vancouver, looked into replacing the RCMP with a city force, but in the case of PoCo, there was no decision to go in another direction.

Moore said he's still undecided about the regional police force idea, but said he expects the meeting to give him a better understanding of the pros and cons on the issue.

"Moving forward when the discussion comes up, we can speak to it with more knowledge," he said.

Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay said if the province or different municipalities want to change policing in the region, his city needs to be involved in the discussion.

"Right now there's a blanket statement in [Wally] Oppal's report there should be a regional model, but nobody knows what that means," he said.

He said Port Moody officials would also be in the meeting to bring their experience in dealing with a municipal police force.

"If they're [cities] going to be having that conversation, I think it's important that they know what it's really like to be on the municipal [police] side, and I don't think a lot of them do," he said.

Clay suggested in the case of Port Moody, policing costs are higher than with an RCMP force, but the level of service is also greater.

jdeutsch@thenownews.com

© Copyright (c) Coquitlam Now

Friday, January 11

Comment: Province must take the lead on regional policing

COLIN NIELSEN , TIMES COLONIST JANUARY 11, 2013

The report from the missing-women commission, written by Wally Oppal, while directed to the Lower Mainland, should also act as a catalyst for the creation of a regional police force for Greater Victoria. The report outlines a compelling case for regionalization over the current patchwork of police forces and RCMP detachments.

Oppal headed a commission of inquiry into policing in B.C. and released his report in July 1994. It contained 317 recommendations. That report did not support regionalization; instead, he stressed the need for various forms of integration among the various municipal departments and RCMP detachments in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island.

After months of hearings into the missing women’s issue, he changed his opinion and now unequivocally recommends regionalizing police services.

“I recommend that [the] provincial government commit to establishing a Greater Vancouver police force through a consultative process with all stakeholders,” he wrote.

While this recommendation refers specifically to Greater Vancouver, the rationale applies equally to the current multi-jurisdictional policing model in Greater Victoria.

The attorney general’s office and Ministry of Justice have not taken any action in the past to implement regionalized policing, in part due to Oppal’s former recommendation that municipalities keep their own police forces and participate in integrated specialized units. Oppal has gained significant insight into policing through his previous role as a judge and by conducting these commissions of inquiry. After months of hearing testimony from police and others during the missing-women inquiry, he now strongly recommends regionalization for the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria.

In Greater Victoria, the first step towards regional policing occurred in 2003, when the Victoria Police Department began policing Esquimalt. Taxpayers in Victoria and Esquimalt now share the costs of policing the regional core and downtown Victoria. Other municipalities contribute nothing toward policing the downtown core.

Resistance by Saanich continues to be the major obstacle to moving forward on regional policing. Saanich chose not to participate in the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit when it was formed in 2010. Saanich police have the active (and still unsolved) investigation into the murder of real-estate agent Lindsay Buziak on Feb. 2, 2008. If anything, Saanich should have jumped at the opportunity to join the Integrated Major Crime Unit, which would have created a much larger pool of investigators to work on this horrendous crime.

Even though Saanich is now joining the unit, it is doing so in an underwhelming way. The population of Saanich exceeds that of Victoria and Esquimalt combined; Victoria and Esquimalt have provided six officers and one civilian to VIIMCU since the unit’s inception at a cost of about $900,000 annually.

In announcing that Saanich will join the integrated unit, Mayor Frank Leonard said Saanich’s cost for three officers and one support person would be $400,000, 45 per cent of Victoria’s cost.

Another example of inequity occurred when Victoria announced the redeployment of one member of the Domestic Violence Unit to other duties. Created in 2010 as a result of the Lee/Park murder-suicide in Oak Bay in 2007, the unit was originally staffed with two officers from Victoria and one each from the RCMP and Saanich.

Once again, Victoria committed twice as many resources as Saanich, even though Saanich has the larger population. When Victoria was forced to redeploy one officer to other duties, it was criticized, even though it was just reducing its commitment to equal Saanich’s.

These are two examples that demonstrate why integration has failed and why regionalization is necessary.

Regionalization will only happen when the provincial government mandates it; municipal consensus will never lead to regionalization on its own.

Leonard said he has repeatedly campaigned on retaining a strong community police department that participates in integrated regional units, and won’t deviate from that campaign promise. His major objection to a regional police service seems to be that “community policing” would be lacking in a regional force.

Community policing is a valuable and desirable concept that can easily be incorporated into a regional police force. Oppal, replying to a similar concern voiced by Mayor Lois Jackson and Chief Constable Jim Cessford of Delta that a larger metropolitan police force would compromise community-based policing, wrote: “With respect, I disagree. The establishment of decentralized infrastructure with local precincts, for instance, could address the needs of local municipalities while still accomplishing the benefits provided by regionalization.”

The municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich will have to be compelled to move to regional policing, and this can only happen with a mandate from the province. The case for a regional police force for Greater Victoria is overwhelming, and Oppal’s report clearly makes the point that politics must no longer stand in the way of doing what must be done. There will be no consensus among municipal politicians; this is where the provincial government must show leadership.

Colin Nielsen of Victoria is a former RCMP member who served on Vancouver Island from 1967 to 1997.

© Copyright (c)

Will city hire sex trade worker liaison?

BY MIKE HOWELL, VANCOUVER COURIER JANUARY 9, 2013

When Wally Oppal released his report last month on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, there was a lot of discussion about his recommendation for a regional police force.

Many of the other recommendations didn't get much, if any, media play, including a couple that relate to city hall. I asked Mayor Gregor Robertson via email about two of them.

I'll start with this one: That the City of Vancouver create and fund two community-based liaison positions to be filled by individuals who have experience in the survival sex trade.

Robertson: "On the issue of the community-based liaison positions, it sounds like a pragmatic approach that will build on the work from our sex trade task force."

In September 2011, the city released a so-called action plan titled "Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Protecting Vulnerable Adults and Neighbourhoods Affected by Sex Work."

The report's author, deputy city manager David McLellan (now retired), made several recommendations, including convening a citywide task force to implement the actions. One of those actions calls for the city to include people exiting sex work in its "supported employment initiative." It's not clear whether the liaison positions suggested by Oppal would fit into this category.

Also, the mayor didn't indicate how much the positions would cost - follow-up questions are always difficult when receiving an email instead of a phone call - but he pointed out he directed city manager Penny Ballem to report back to council this month on the city-related recommendations in Oppal's report.

The other recommendation I wondered about concerned Robertson's role as chairperson of the Vancouver Police Board. For years, the sitting mayor of Vancouver has doubled as the chairperson of the board.

Back in 1994, when Oppal led a wide-ranging review of policing in the province, he recommended mayors not serve on the police board.

Oppal didn't go that far this time: "I recommend that the Police Act be amended to provide that the mayor is an ex officio member of the [Vancouver Police] Board, but has no voting authority."

Robertson: "Removing mayors as chairs of police boards is something I've called for in the past and it's good to see it included in the recommendations."

The mayor has told me a couple of times about the awkward position it puts him in when wearing his police board hat and approving budgets for the police department - then, as mayor, having to decide whether the city has the budget to fund the police.

I didn't ask him about any of the other recommendations in the report but Robertson made this additional comment: "As for the recommendation on more resources from the division of police services, the police board greatly increased its oversight of the VPD since the late '90s. The board will be reviewing all of the Inquiry recommendations that relate to the VPD and discussing them in our upcoming meetings."

The board's next meeting is Jan. 22 while council is scheduled to meet Jan. 15. The recommendation for a regional police force, meanwhile, remains just that - a recommendation until provincial and municipal governments say otherwise. mhowell@vancourier.com

twitter.com/Howellings

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Monday, January 7

British Columbians support inquiry's suggestions: poll

Most British Columbians agree with the top recommendations of a report from the missing women inquiry, while a majority in Metro Vancouver favour a unified police force, according to a new Angus Reid poll.

By Vancouver Sun December 29, 2012

Most British Columbians agree with the top recommendations of a report from the missing women inquiry, while a majority in Metro Vancouver favour a unified police force, according to a new Angus Reid poll.

The online public opinion poll, which surveyed 806 people on Dec. 20-22, found 57 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents support a single police force to oversee Metro Vancouver. The idea was most popular among men and those 55 and older, according to the survey.

The recommendation was among 63 made by Missing Women Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal, who released his report the same week the survey was conducted. Oppal said the investigation into the women's disappearances was riddled with "blatant police failures and public indifference."

He noted that serial killers like Robert Pickton, Paul Bernardo and child killer Clifford Olson all operated under conditions where police failed to work together and share information.

Metro Vancouver has 21 municipalities, five of which have their own police forces - Vancouver, West Vancouver, Delta, New Westminster and Port Moody. The others are policed by the RCMP.

Meanwhile, about 91 per cent of British Columbians surveyed supported Oppal's recommendations of improving the police's missing person policies and practices. One-third also favour funding centres that provide emergency services to women in the sex trade, enhancing public transit in northern B.C., especially along the Highway of Tears, and having more intensive and ongoing training for police on the history of aboriginal people. About 58 per cent of respondents agree with setting up a compensation fund for the children of missing women.

The online survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent.

ksinoski@vancouversun.com

© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

Saturday, January 5

Finding missing people is a calling

BY PETE MCMARTIN, VANCOUVER SUN JANUARY 4, 2013

Brian is 50. He is short, a bit squat and stutters slightly when he is nervous. When he was younger, he and his father took part in search and rescue operations, and it was during a rescue that Brian fell and suffered a brain injury.

He lost a significant part of his brain, he said: It was about the size of a golf ball. He was in a coma for three years, and seven years in recovery. He had to learn how to read and write again.

In time, he recovered enough to get a job driving a truck for a roofing company. His injury had taken its toll, though, and he developed arthritis and a bad back hauling bundles of tile. He went on disability.

His disability payment came to just under $1,000 a month. Rent took most of it. In one New Westminster apartment, the new landlord raised the rent to $700 from $595, and to eat, Brian started to frequent soup kitchens and food banks. He moved to an apartment in Surrey, only to find out the affordable apartment the landlord had promised was a garage. The city shut it down. He moved back to New Westminster and found a basement suite for $600. It was under a staircase.

In 2010, after hearing about a new subsidized apartment building being opened in New Westminster for the disabled and those at risk of homelessness, Brian applied to be a resident. It was to be run by the Lookout Emergency Aid Society, which operates shelters and residences for the homeless around Metro Vancouver. Membership was restricted to persons living in New Westminster, and Brian was accepted. He moved into his small one-bedroom apartment in 2011. It is basic, but neat and clean. The rent is $391. The price includes cable and BC Hydro.

"He was our first resident, in fact," said Matthew Pullar, the building's tenant support worker. "He was very private at first and he kept to himself a lot. But he found his purpose here because all the things that had preoccupied his time before were taken care of here."

That purpose hearkened back to Brian's days with his father in search and rescue. He would help find the missing and lost once again, but this time he would do it on the Internet.

"Ever since I did search and rescue with my dad, it's kind of in the blood, finding missing people."

So just over a year ago - "On Dec. 26, 2011," Brian said - he started the Missing People of Canada Facebook page.

He began posting police missing person reports, Amber Alerts and some Crime Stoppers bulletins involving pedophiles. (The site can be found at facebook.com/MissingPeopleCanada. It was because of the criminal nature of some of those postings, Brian said, that he asked that his last name and address not be used.)

He spends 12 to 16 hours a day tending the site, he said, using a bank of used monitors and keyboards that were either donated or he found at thrift stores. As of Thursday afternoon, he had 500 missing persons reports on his site. People regularly write in with tips or questions about missing people whose profiles he has posted.

"Right now, there are over 7,000 missing people in Canada, most of them cold case files. The largest group of those missing would be aboriginal women, and most of those are from B.C."

Brian may have scored a coup in mid-November after being the first operator of a missing persons site to post an Amber Alert for a three-year-old boy who was allegedly kidnapped by his father in southeastern B.C. and taken across the border into Montana.

The Montana man who would eventually alert police that he had seen the father and boy - and which would lead to the father's arrest and the boy's return to B.C. - told media he had first seen the Amber Alert on Facebook. The next day, Brian found several congratulatory notes posted on the site.

His work has paid off with a huge response. In one year, it has attracted 22,290 followers, a number that includes police forces and media. He has followers in 20 countries.

He has helped look for hundreds and hundreds of the missing, and succeeded in finding himself.

pmcmartin@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Friday, January 4

Heed again calls for regional metro police force

BY MICHAEL SMYTH, THE PROVINCE JANUARY 2, 2013

If Premier Christy Clark wants a passionate and reasoned argument in favour of a new metro-wide police force for Vancouver, she doesn't need to look very far.

She can read it in the pages of Wally Oppal's new report into the Robert Pickton serial killings.

Or she can pick up the phone and talk to her Liberal caucus colleague, Kash Heed.

The former solicitor-general has been calling for a regional police force for years.

Now, after Oppal concluded a regional force may have stopped Pickton's reign of terror sooner, Heed is raising his voice again.

"I'd like to see less talk and more action," the Liberal MLA told me.

"It's up to the province to move forward with the reforms that are needed. If they don't, they've let the citizens of British Columbia down."

The existing patchwork of municipal police forces and RCMP detachments hampered the Pickton investigation through botched communication, finger-pointing and turf wars, Oppal concluded.

Now Heed says a unified force would eliminate many of the problems.

"You have to bring in the accountability factor - one person who's actually responsible for the region," he said. "The way the balkanized system works right now, there is no one person responsible."

He points out that the province's long-term contract with the RCMP has a two-year escape clause ("We can get out of it") and a more efficient regional system would be cheaper to run in the long term.

So why doesn't B.C. do it? "We have protectionism going on within local governments," Heed said. "We have police leaders who say, 'Oh, we work so well together.'

"But at the end of the day, you're accountable to your specific region, your specific force, and the RCMP is really accountable to Ottawa."

But it's that kind of fractured system that allowed Pickton - and also serial child-killer Clifford Olson - to prey on their victims for far too long, Heed argues.

"I'll make a prediction," he said. "Unless we change the structure of policing and go to a unified system in Metro Vancouver, there will be other examples. I hope they're not as horrific as Pickton and Olson, but there will be other examples where we will say this was caused by the balkanized police system we have in this area."

I think Heed and Oppal are absolutely right in calling for a regional police force in Vancouver.

Christy Clark should listen to them.

NDP Leader Adrian Dix should, too. Unfortunately, neither seems to have the political courage to defy entrenched interests and do what's right.

msmyth@theprovince.com

twitter.com/mikesmythnews

© Copyright (c) The Province

Wednesday, January 2

Mourning for Rape Victim Recasts New Year's Eve in India - NYTimes.com

Mourning for Rape Victim Recasts New Year's Eve in India - NYTimes.com:

'via Blog this'

Former Sask. man lauded in Pickton report

BY JASON WARICK, THE STARPHOENIX DECEMBER 31, 2012

Former VPD officer Kim Rossmo arrives at Federal Court in Vancouver to testify before the missing women inquiry on Tuesday, January 24, 2012.

Photograph by: Glenn Baglo, PNG

Vancouver police should have listened to a former Saskatoon man who warned them a serial killer - later found to be Robert Pickton - was murdering women, stated a massive report into the case.

"That was a frustrating time for me. I wish those women would still be alive," criminologist Kim Rossmo said following a visit home to Saskatoon for the holidays.

"Now nothing can be done to bring these women back, but this (report) is a recipe for avoiding future tragedies."

Rossmo, a graduate of Brunskill Elementary School and Evan Hardy Collegiate, was working as a Vancouver police officer at the time of the Pickton killings. He tried without success to get his colleagues and superiors to consider the dozens of missing women, many of them prostitutes, as possible victims of a serial killer.

Pickton was eventually discovered and is serving a life sentence in prison for six murders after a 2007 conviction. He allegedly told an undercover officer he has killed a total of 49 women.

In a recently released report of more than 1,000 pages, former British Columbia attorney-general Wally Op-pal criticizes Vancouver city police and RCMP for their lack of co-operation, poor investigations and for failures to communicate within individual departments. Oppal also accused officers of being "disengaged" on the cases of the missing women.

Rossmo said no one would want to go to a mechanic whose mind was on his next golf game, so why would we expect less from police?

"That was very frustrating for me and for other people who had become convinced the women had been murdered," he said.

"Hopefully next time around, there will be careful attention paid."

Rossmo hopes the lessons learned in the Pickton case and illuminated by Oppal's report can help investigators in other cities.

"The implications are not related to just one province," he said. "This can happen in Victoria. This can happen in Saskatoon."

In 1995, Rossmo became Canada's first police officer to earn a doctorate. He pioneered the science of geographic profiling. His techniques are used to investigate crimes around the world, and also to track potential terrorist activity, animal foraging and other applications. He now works as a criminologist at Texas State University near Austin.

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Lost Highway Chronicles - Chapter 1