This Week in Policing – February 20, 2009

 We ended the week on a positive note. 

 An 18 year old kidnapping victim was rescued by the Vancouver Police Department on Thursday, Feb. 19th, after he was allegedly taken from his downtown home on Sunday, Feb. 15th.  The update from the Vancouver Police Department’s Media Releases page reads as follows:

The first major kidnapping case in Vancouver in almost three years came to a successful conclusion February 19th when an 18 year old young man was rescued by police and four of his suspected abductors were arrested.

The Chinese International student was allegedly taken from his home in the West End on February 15th.  His parents, who live in China, were called with a ransom demand and contacted police through a third party in Canada.

Inspector Les Yeo was the Team Commander for the case, also having led the investigation into the well-publicized kidnapping and rescue of Graham McMynn in 2004.  Inspector Yeo, who calls himself just the coach of the team, commended all the people involved in the case.  “This was a good example of how we can work with other agencies, as well.”

The investigation, with Lead Investigators A.J. Benefield and Simon Cracknell, involved over 100 officers and civilians and included assistance from the RCMP and Chinese authorities.  Staff worked long hours, some of them working 36 hours straight. 

Vancouver Police Sergeant Joe Chu, who is fluent in Mandarin, became the liaison with the parents, who were obviously devastated.  “Imagine you are these parents, living thousands of miles away from their child, and you don’t speak the language.  Who are you going to call?”

He praised the parents’ ultimate decision to call the police.  After not sleeping for days, it was Sergeant Chu who made the call to give the young man’s parents the good news.  “It was an incredible moment to say to the parents, ‘We have your son.’”

Deputy Chief Doug LePard also praised everyone involved in the case.  “This was a huge team effort.  We dedicated an incredible amount of resources to this, including surveillance teams, tactical units, civilian analysts, wiretap monitors, as well as investigators.”

Charges against the four people arrested have been recommended to Crown.”


Other Vancouver News:

  • Serial Robber now in custody – After a series of robberies dating from December 10th, 2008 to February 17th, 2009, the VPD asked for assistance from the public and the media.  After local news outlets broadcast the suspects photo and physical description, the man alleged to have committed the robberies turned himself in to the police station at 9pm on Thursday, Feb. 19th.  This case was a great example of the media and the police working together.
  • Homicide appears to have started as a home invasion – Resident’s of the 6900 Fraser St were shaken after a shooting took place at a house on February 17th at 2pm.  A struggle ensued between the suspects and the occupants of the home, leaving one man dead and another injured.  Another suspect was later arrested by the Surrey RCMP.  It is not known what ties, if any, the people involved in this incident had. CTV has some photos and aerial video of the scene.


News from south of the border:

  • L.A. Sheriff’s Department – a report released on Thurs., Feb 19th and prepared by L.A. County’s Office of Independent Review alleges the L.A. Sheriff’s department reduced it’s hiring standards in 2006, which allowed them to hire recruits who would have been rejected previous to that.  Part of the breaking news story can be read at The Times-Standard, and this will probably be all over the US news in the coming days.  I’ve got a very strong personal opinion on hiring standards – the standards need to be high as not everyone is suited for this job.  Yes, policing is a wide and varied career, and we need officers more now than ever.  But it’s really a matter of quality over quantity; I’d rather be working short handed than having to worry if an officer coming to help me is really capable of doing his/her job.  I’ve seen what happens when an officer is hired who shouldn’t be – officers are put at risk and bad guys get away.
  • US Border Patrol Helicopter Crash – the helicopter went down at approx 8pm on Thursday evening.  All three crew members survived and were treated for non-life threatening injuries.  The Los Angeles Times has more of the story.


‘You’ve got to be kidding me” News:

  • Thief caught in a ‘wedgie’ – a Salt Lake City, Utah, woman chased after a man who broke into a co-worker’s car.  When he kept trying to get away, the woman yanked on the man’s undershorts, gave him a wedgie, and then placed him in a head lock until police arrived.  I love it!  Check out the story on The Herald.


Have a safe weekend everyone, see you on Monday.


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2 Responses to "This Week in Policing – February 20, 2009"

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