This Week in Policing – April 24, 2009

Project Rebellion

Earlier this week the Vancouver Police Department made several arrests stemming from the investigation dubbed ‘Project Rebellion’.  Chief Constable Jim Chu released a statement, printed in the Vancouver Sun, about the combined effort between police agencies to make our streets safer. 

Immediately after Chief Chu’s statement came a statement prepared by Deputy Chief Constable Doug Lepard.  His statement, about our war on gangs, is a must read:

“When there is a gang war, and we’ve been in the thick of one, citizens can rightly ask of their police department, where do you start?

If it was just one gang fighting a second gang perhaps the answer would be simple. The problem is that the Lower Mainland is plagued with many gangs, the members often freely move back and forth among the gangs, doing deals for whoever will hire them and they attract a variety of enemies along the way.

Trying to eliminate this web of criminals is a bit like the arcade game “Whack-a-Mole” – as soon as you hit one, another one pops up. You can’t hope to make a difference by just taking them out one at a time.

While the task is challenging, we know that it is not impossible. To stay with the metaphor, if we take out the group of moles that are causing the most damage, then we have a chance to lessen the problem across the board.

Not many months ago, all the Lower Mainland police agencies met to decide which gangs should receive the bulk of our attention. For the Vancouver Police, the choice was clear. We were going to concentrate on the gangsters who posed the greatest threat to the safety of our community.

The targets chosen in what you now know as Project Rebellion were the violent members of the Sanghera crime group centred in southeast Vancouver. As Chief Chu just said, we have arrested more of them and charged them with dozens of crimes.

We still have one more arrest to make at this point, and we will continue to work hard to build more cases. Inspector Porteous will tell you about the one person we are looking for and plan to arrest soon with your help.  He will also show you some video of the sweep we made yesterday. We are not letting up with these arrests. I assure you we will be back in this room again for the same purpose.

I want to thank Inspector Porteous and his team for their outstanding work on Project Rebellion.  I cannot say enough about the dedication of him and his team, many of whom worked extremely long days and nights, and often for weeks on end without days off.  From the investigators to the surveillance teams to those involved in covert duties, to civilian analysts and support staff – the commitment to this project was truly beyond the call. 

I would also like to add my thanks to Crown Counsel Teresa Mitchell-Banks, who has had to work through the massive volumes of information we’ve provided her, as well as taking matters like the Sanghera bail application to Supreme Court.  I’d also like to thank IGTF and CFSEU for providing resources to the VPD to assist with this very costly investigation.

I will just conclude by saying that, in a gang war, the streets of our communities have too often been the battleground where it is fought. By getting these criminals off the street and into jail we are making our communities safer for everyone.”

   – Deputy Chief Constable Doug Lepard

 

In other news:

Lower Mainland:

  • Road Criminal – One police car is out of service after trying to ‘close the distance’ on a fleeing Ferrari.  Multiple citizens called in to report a red sports car driving erratically on the Barnet Hwy in Port Moody on Wednesday afternoon, and when a police officer tried to stop the Ferrari it took off.  At a high rate of speed.  Unfortunately, the police cruiser hit a patch of gravel and spun out of control.  The end result was damage to the police car and a minivan – thankfully no one was injured.  The Ferrari got away, but the owner has been identified and the investigation is ongoing.

 United States:

  • Morrisainia, New York – a teacher at a middle school was arrested earlier today after he barricaded himself in a classroom and threatened to blow up the school.  It appears the man was disgruntled about disciplinary action taken against him for previous conduct, and he said there was a bomb in the library.  The school, which has a capacity for 1200 students, was evacuated and police negotiators and SWAT were called in.  The man surrendered after a three hour standoff, and was taken into custody without incident.  No bomb was located.  How much do you want to bet this man’s teaching days are over?

Weird News:

This time, I bring you a story that proves once again sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. 

Last week, other officers and I responded to a call of a convenience store robbery.  It appears the suspect allegedly robbed the store at knife point, then sat outside the store.  Instead of calling 911, the store clerk called his boss.  The suspect, impatient about the delay in police arriving to arrest him, allegedly picked up the payphone next to the store and called 911 himself.

Why?

He had an outstanding drug debt and wanted to go to jail where he would be ‘safe’.

Guess the joke’s on him.  He was arrested and charged, and then released on bail.

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1 Response to "This Week in Policing – April 24, 2009"

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