Wolfville Police under fire

Just got at the PO, as you probably did, Lutz Becker’s open letter to Wolfville residents about Policing in Wolfville.

We would copy the whole thing here except that is hardly fair since Mr. Becker has started his own blog Voices of Wolfville – not to be confused with the other Voices of Wolfville blog that Mr. Daniels has posted on in the past, but which has gone quiet since October, 2008. Note the difference in the urls. [We have replaced our link to Mr. Daniel’s VoW with Mr. Becker’s VoW as we prefer to have links to blogs that are active.]

Not to steal Mr. Becker’s thunder we will confine ourselves to reproducing some of his open letter concerning the level of firepower available to our men in red. For details of how he became concerned about this issue and his further thoughts on it see his post.  We add our comments which Mr. Becker has asked for and also what we hope are helpful links.

From the open letter:

  • Do you know the police in Wolfville are shooting hollow point bullets in their handguns?
  • Do you know that hollow point bullets are designed to spread (mushroom) and split in pieces once they enter a target to inflict more damage…
  • Do you know that hollow point bullets are outlawed by international law… (Hague Declaration) [But not the Geneva Convention]
  • …Do you know that the police in Wolfville are carrying ( besides pepper spray, the baton and the taser) the “Glock” pistol which holds a clip with 15 rounds and that these 15 rounds provide the officer with a tremendous fire/killing/maiming power even in the clip would be filled with regular 9mm bullets instead of the hollow-point ones?
  • Do you know that ourt of your tax dollars more than one million dollars a year is paid to the police in Wolfville and that you should have a say on what kind of bullets the police are using in their handguns while patrolling our streets.?
  • Do you want hollow-point bullets used …?

We commend Mr Becker for his wide ranging interest in Town affairs and his energy in  searching down information from reliable sources, and we have to agree that OUR municipal force should not really need this kind of weaponry.

We have complained about the high cost of policing with the RCMP contract, the poor service  we have had, and the level of speeding, vandalism and alcohol infractions which go unchallenged. Our belief is that it was a mistake to change to the RCMP [ a decision which was contrary to the recommendations of the committee struck to study the issue!] But as is so often the case, sweaters once unravelled are hard to reknit. Can we go back to a municipal force?

We don’t know if the Glock and/or the hollow-nose bullet is standard issue for the RCMP. [It may vary by department or province. It appears elsewhere they are given a Smith and Wesson.] If they are standard issue then this is a national or provincial issue not a municipal one and then the question becomes is it efficient to put municipal time into a concern we may have little chance of affecting.

Even if these weapons are standard isue only for this department or detachment, we have to consider carefully what we ask for. There are suggestions that the hollow -point is better in policing circumstances, and are commonly used by police forces, because there is less chance of the bullet piercing the target and then hitting a bystander, or ricocheting off of objects and hitting an unintended target. The police themselves prefer them for their own safety because if they are in [the extreme] situation of having to draw arms when they hit their target the target is more lkely to “go down” and less likely to be able to continue attacking or shooting. This also would be more safe for bystanders. Shoot outs can be dangerous. We are reminded of the case in Toronto when a gang shoot out at a major intersection in broad daylight resulted in an innocent girl being killed.The RCMP who have responsibilities outside of Wolfville might need this kind of weapon for a situation elsewhere.

It comes back to the issue of local control of our policing. And without a municipal force we don’t have that. Too bad.

Do visit VoW and give your opinions on this issue. The debate is valuable. We haven’t had enough exchange of opinions in this Town.

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