Old Red Jacket Talker

Just an old RCMP dispatcher’s ramblings . . .

Idiots Out There

I made it through the morning papers and the drifts of snow. Then it was off to the curling rink for the morning game. Due to some sickness we were short a player, however, we recruited a 2nd from another rink and got the game under way. Sadly, we ended up with a big ‘L’. Oh well, there is always next week.

After the game we headed for home for a quick bite to eat and then headed for the city for Sam’s INR check up. After last nights semi blizzard the roads were actually in decent shape. The passing lane had a bit of snow and ice, but really not that bad. I was able to travel near 100 to 105 Kph.

About half way into the city I looked in the rear view and saw a car coming up quite fast. There was a single occupant in the vehicle. As he zoomed by me I just had to shake my head. The idiot was reading a book or magazine as he was driving. He had the magazine situated in the steering wheel and was reading and changing pages. I would estimate his speed at somewhere near 130 to 140 kph so he was in quick order out of sight.

It is hard to believe someone would be so stupid to travel the roads in the conditions we had. I can only speculate what this guys response would be if he either had an accident or caused an accident. Likely something like, “gee, I was just driving along minding my own business”. Yah right, and you don’t have one clue 😦

You just have to shake your head at the stupidity of some people . . .

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January 12, 2009 Posted by | RCMP | Leave a comment

Vigor BioPharma Update

After almost a year and a half since the Town severed their ties with Vigor they are back in the news. It appears that the RCMP’s Commercial Crime Section out of Saskatoon has charged Mr. Summers with fraud and other charges. Mr. Summers was the frontman for Vigor BioPharma in the summer of 2007 when he was trying to setup a business in the Town of Hanley. Ultimately the Town decided to sever ties with the man and his plans.

Summers faces fraud charge

Of course these are just charges and the man is to have his day in court to prove his guilt or innocence.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | Hanley, RCMP | 1 Comment

Just A Bit Peeved :(

I’m normally a fairly understanding person and usually take the middle road in most things.

This last Friday, October 31st, was the first day of the local Poppy campaign for 2008. Here in Hanley we have a group that sells wreaths to business people, companies, and individuals. We normally have 3 teams that take care of our community and area. They are usually chomping at the bit to get out and sell poppies and wreaths for our Remembrance Day ceremonies and are very dedicated.

So on Monday morning my Poppy Chairman comes to me and advises that all is going well with the exception of the local RCMP Detachment. The members responsible for the RCMP tried all day Friday and all day Saturday at the Detachment to contact a member with no success.

I informed the fellow that we don’t have any normal business hours for our local Detachment any longer as the RCMP has cut the Detachment to only two members and right now they are short one member. Of course this member works mainly nights when the request for service are the most. The Poppy chairperson asked that I attempt to get a hold of the Detachment and see if they wanted to purchase a wreath this year for our Poppy campaign.

Monday morning I called the local number for the Detachment and after numerous no answers I finally let the call go through to Saskatoon (knowing that member normally works nights). I explained to the clerk who answered who I was and why I was calling. She appreciated the call and replied that normally the Detachment does purchase a wreath, but I should talk to the member at the Detachment. The clerk then gave me the local number (duh I just called it a bunch of times) and also the cell phone number of the member in the area. She also advised that the member was working this evening and to give the Detachment a call after 6:00 pm. when the member came one duty.

I waited til about 5:55 p.m. hoping to catch the member before he hit the road. No answer. So I called at 6:00 p.m., 6:10 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. with still no answer. So the next call I made I let go through once again to Saskatoon and was answered by a member in the Detachment in Saskatoon. He assured me that a Hanley member was working this evening and just must be busy and to try my call again.

So I waited for an hour and tried the Detachment again. Still no answer (which is understandable if the member is out on a call). I then gave the cell number a call that the clerk had provided and actually got an answer from the member. I identified myself and the member acknowledged who was calling and then the phone went dead. Hey, this is a cell, so bad coverage etc, etc.

I thought that the member would give me a call back as he knew my name and must have my number from call display or a phone book to look up the number. After 10 minutes and no call back I again called the cell. It rang and rang and rang and no answer. I re-tried thinking maybe I had a wrong number, but nope, ring, ring, ring and no answer. So I thought maybe the member got tied up and would give me a call later. After a couple hours I again called the cell and just received a ring, ring, ring with no answer.

I then waited for another hour or so and tried again with still no answer. So I then tried the Detachment again and still no answer there. Then all of a sudden the police truck heads out of town past my living room window. I think that of course the member is heading out on a call so I don’t expect him to give me a call for the evening and that he must have been busy.

The next day I tried the Detachment and cell again and still no answer at either number, yet a few minutes later the police truck drives past the house heading out of town. So I call the members cell phone again and I still don’t get an answer.

Being an ex member I figure the member is heading to a call and is tied up and has no time to give me a call back so I send the Detachment an email message with a request for a confirmation on there attendance at our Remembrance Day services. A couple days later and still no answer.

So today I tried the Detachment again and still no answer on the local phone. There is no sense in going through to Saskatoon as they just tell me to keep trying the local number. Getting a bit peeved here by this time 😦

I typed up a letter and faxed it to the Detachment this afternoon hoping that when the member comes to work he would at least check out his fax machine. I received nothing back this evening, but I figured that maybe the member is on days off now and won’t likely see the fax until probably Friday.

What I really hate is that when I have to get up in front of a group of 20-30 people and tell them I have had no luck in contacting the local RCMP and everyone shakes their head and agrees with me and say this is normal. Ashamed just doesn’t cut it.

I then think that maybe I should tell these folks to just call 911 as numerous of our folks in the province do and that way an incident is created in Regina by DOCC and a member always gets back to these people as a complaint has been generated and the member is more or less compelled to do something.

Sorry, I just can’t do that after sitting in DOCC and hearing the sad tales on the 911 line that a person’s 12 year kid won’t go to bed and she requires the police attendance to make the child go to bed, etc. A bit later I then hear the member booking 10-23 (at scene) of the caller. Just a bit of disgust on my part on hearing this. But better that than continually calls to 911 complaining about lack of police attendance.

Gosh I wish I could get my kids tucked in by a $70,000 + per year police officer whenever I wished 😦

I do realize that this most definitely is not an emergency call, but there are still many, many calls to the police that are just a routine complaint/request for service that eventually end up in something more serious or need to be answered. It would appear that either the member(s) are so overwhelmed with the calls in the area that they just do not have the time to return calls or they just don’t care. If it is the previous then the Force should be definitely looking at getting more members in place. If it is the later, then the Force should be looking for a better Detachment for the member rather than a small town Detachment.

For our local Remembrance Day ceremony, if the member shows up great, if not then we’ll just go on with our service without them. The sale of one small wreath certainly is not going to break our bank.

It just is not a very satisfactory method of doing business in my mind though. . .

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Hanley, Legion, RCMP | Leave a comment

I Thought I Forgot :(

As I was walking along this morning at about 5:30 a.m. delivering my papers I got to thinking of this and that.

This morning I was thinking about how much I had forgotten about my previous occupation after just about 4 years of no contact.

As we all think our brains can only hold so much information and then we have to get rid of some of the garbage so to speak to make room for new information. I figured after almost 4 years I should have made a bit of room with deleting a few unimportant items from my former career. So I figured I’d give myself a run down of former Detachments in the former NB S/Div.

As expected I remembered all the Detachment names which is not a bad thing considering I used them every day for over 21 years. Then I decided to try and remember ORIs for the Detachments thinking that no way I could remember such a minor thing after this length of time and absolutely no contact with the former profession.

So I listed in my mind:

Battleford = 20030 (Defunct now)
Battlefords = 20035
Cut Knife = 10025
Glaslyn = 10035 (Probably defunct now)
Green Lake 10032 (Probably defunct now)

Goodsoil 10038 (Defunct now)
Hafford 10040 (Probably defunct now)
Lloydminster 20016
Loon Lake 10060
Maidstone 10062 (Probably defunct now)
Meadow Lake 10065
North Battleford 10076 (Defunct now)
Onion Lake 10078
Pierceland 10081
Radisson 10086 (Probably defunct now)
St Walburg 10092 (Probably defunct now)
Spiritwood 10097
Turtleford 10104
Unity 10105
Wilkie 10114 (Probably defunct now)

As I listed them off in my mind I figured I’m was probably about 95-98% correct (which means I might have 1 or possibly 2 wrong but I didn’t think so). Of course this was just the former NB S/Div. My mind also flooded in with previous ORIs that were common in Saskatchewan at the time; ie 10125 10126 10127 10128 10129 10130, 10057 10061, etc etc etc. These were just Saskatchewan ones, I also recalled a few Alberta ones (ie 10102, 10120, 10115, 30009, etc);  Manitoba ones (ie 100700; Ontario ones (ie 10000, 10078); New Brunswick ones (ie 10045)l and a few others throughout the country.

This told me that I hadn’t really dropped off this lot of useless information in my mind so I moved on to plan “B”.

I thought I’d try phone numbers… Ah success… I could only remember 1 or 2 (or maybe 3 or 4) from the previous years. But then I remembered that these numbers had not stayed the same throughout the years. They had changed 2 or 3 times in the 30 years. But at least I had forgotten a few of earlier numbers. . .

Zenith 50,000, 445-9441, 445-9461 of course are burnt into my mind and I’ll probably never erase them. But there are some that are just gone. Thank goodness.

I thought I might be filling up the old hard drive too much 🙂 Now I know I have a bit of extra room to add more useless information in the future!

I wonder what kind of information will be stored away in the next 10 or 20 or 30 years ??

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Computers, RCMP | Leave a comment

Still Speeding

With the most recent trip to the city (and onto the lake) and return, my count is now at 106 trips into/out of the city since we purchased the car. The sad part is that my count of visuals on a marked police unit on the highway is still sitting at 6 sightings. So that should come out to about a 94.34% chance you will not see a police unit on the highway from town into the city or return.

A quick little calculation about the number of vehicles passing me to the number of vehicles I passed gave me a figure of approx 90% of the vehicles are speeding. I set my cruise on 111 kmph and watched 9 out of 10 vehicles passing my. Some were just over the 111 mark whereas others had the landing gear out and flying low. The sad part was there just was no one out on the highways to watch/catch the speeders. Of course for the most part this is during daylight hours and not a normal time for Detachment members to be out and about fighting crime.

Them police cars are getting about as scarce as VW bugs out on the highways and byways . . . The sad part is with all the retirements and what not, it is probably going to get a lot worse before it gets any better 😦

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Hanley, RCMP | Leave a comment

Wonder Why There Are So Many Speeders

On my most recent trip to the city I was listening to the radio and the statistic that there had been so many accidents on Hwy 11 lately and I got to thinking. . .

Like many folks that follow the rules of the road I was travelling along at 110 kmph (give or take 1). Of course every vehicle on the road was just whizzing by me like I was standing still. Believe me, I don’t pass too many people but I sure do get passed alot.

Anyhow, I got to doing some figuring and I came up with the fact that this was my 90th trip either to the city or home since I bought my car in late April. In those 90 trips I have only seen a police vehicle 6 times either on my way into the city or on my way home on the stretch from Hanley to Saskatoon and return. Up until yesterday’s trip I had only seen 5 PCs so yesterday’s trip was special.

But then the figuring comes into play. If you get a per centage of times I have seen a police vehicle in those 90 trips it comes out to 6.67%. So for 93.33% of the time I have not encountered a PC. Hummmm. So you wonder why people speed when the chance they are going to get caught is so low with no police vehicles on the highway?

Now for the most part I travel during daylight hours and I know that most Detachments work the evenings more so than dayshifts as that is when the members are needed more. But still there is the Traffic Services Section (formerly Highway Patrol) out of Saskatoon that for the most part does work daylight shifts and there are some members of the Detachments who work day shifts as well. As Hwy 11 is one of the major highways in this province, I wonder which part of the highway they are patrolling? The highway north towards Prince Albert is busy, but believe me, there is a lot of traffic on this bit of road that runs south from Saskatoon as well.

It is not always at night when all the accidents are happening on the roads. If you look at all the recent ones along Hwy 11 (Craik, Hanley, Davidson, etc), quite a few of them have been during daylight hours. Mind you a fair number of them have been when a vehicle is trying to cross the major highway.

So thinking, as a person sits to cross the road, you are believing that the oncoming vehicle is travelling at the speed limit of say 110 kmph, but in reality the oncoming vehicles are travelling at 120 to 125 normally and in a lot of cases up over 130 or 140 kmph. That just could throw your estimation of room to travel across the highway out the window as the traffic is upon you much quicker than you actually thought.

Now I’m sure not ragging on the members who are patrolling the highways and byways as I know they just can’t be everywhere at once. Of course all Detachments and Units are also running short which doesn’t help any.

I lay the blame on ‘Joe/Josephine Public’ who figures they don’t have to obey the speed limits because they are ‘special’, or they need to get somewhere in a hurry, etc. With the per centage of police vehicles out on the roads these days, these offenders are getting away with their breaking of the laws and possibly causing some accidents.

Well at least it was something to think about as I travelled in and out of the city. After awhile the scenery does get a tad boring 🙂

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Hanley, RCMP | Leave a comment

Feelings Rush Back In

The other day I received an email from a long lost friend who I worked with in North Battleford at ‘Telecomns’ when I first joined the RCMP in 1975. I worked along side Scott for a couple of years when he decided that he wanted to become a Regular Member. A few months later he was off to the ‘Swinging Arm Ranch’ in Regina, Saskatchewan for his training.

After training, Scott was posted to a small Detachment in central Alberta. Then after a few more years and a few more transfers he resigned and went to work up in the Fort McMurray area. Long and short of it, he was doing a search for some of his co-workers from his North Battleford days and found my name and sent along an e-mail.

Of course he wanted to know what had transpired in the ensuing almost 30 years. I filled him in to the best of my knowledge of where the ‘old crew’ was living and what they were doing now. Scott was originally from the Prince Albert district, so of course he asked if I knew where some of the people from the Telecomns in PA ended up as well. Once again I wrote back with what I knew of the happenings to some of the operators from up XJA-91 country.

As I was thinking of the previous PA folks, I of course remembered Butch who made the transfer to Regina with the rest of us in 1996. He had been the Supervisor in PA and on his move to Regina eventually became the DOCC supervisor in Regina. His job certainly was not an enjoyable one in that he was trying to integrate 6 previous Telecomns centers and their staff along with a bunch of rookie operators into one amalgamated center. Some of his directions and thoughts were not well liked by the membership of C/Ms. Then some of his directives were not really liked by the R/Ms out in the field either. So in essence Butch was sitting out in the middle between the field units and the working staff in the OCC.

Butch felt that I had some excellent working traits and sort of took me under his wing in an attempt to guide me along as an upcoming supervisor. I would dare say he was my main mentor in where I was going and where I eventually ended up. That is not to say I agreed with everything he said or did. However, one difference from myself and a few of the other folks in the newly amalgamated center was I at least would tell Butch face to face on what I didn’t agree with and how I felt we could achieve the same result in another way. Let me tell you there was a heap of ‘back stabbing’ that went on during those early years in the DOCC.

Butch guided us through some fairly hard times, and it appeared we were starting to get ‘our act together’ as a Unit. Sadly, Butch was still out on his own. Not really one of the C/Ms and not recognized as a Commander of a 50+ unit membership of the RCMP. I’m sure that weighed heavily on him and a bit later we all found out how much so.

I can still remember working day shift one weekend. We had a full staff complement along with about a dozen cadets in for their ‘Orientation’ into an OCC. This was where the cadets sat in and listened in with the Complaint Takers and then with the Dispatcher as they handled the traffic from the public and field units. Along about 2:00 pm I saw the Sgt from Regina Detachment entering the office. I remembered thinking it was strange to see the Sgt from the Detachment in the office on the day. He worked a Monday to Friday shift and it just seemed strange that he was in the office at the time. I checked with the Dispatch zone for Regina to see if anything was happening and found nothing out of the ordinary. Then the Sgt asked me to follow him to his office as he wanted to speak with me. Now I was really perplexed, but away I went.

The Sgt didn’t beat around the bush at all. He point blank told me that Butch had taken his own life just shortly before and he was deceased. WHAT! was my first thought. I had handled and talked to many suicide subjects throughout my career as most OCC operators have. I’m happy to say that most subjects ended up getting help prior to their committing the final act.  I do remember one fellow that talked to me for quite awhile (while I was getting help to his location) and then he just abruptly said goodbye.  I next heard a loud gun shot in the phone.  Sadly this young fellow just couldn’t see his way through to get more help and committed the ultimate act. 

But back to my story . . .

With a few more details, I was heading back to the DOCC to break it to my staff. Some of the people working on my Watch that day had worked with Butch for close to 20+ years, so I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task. On my arrival back I made a few calls to some of the other Supervisors to appraise them of what transpired and to come in and help. Then I advised all the Cadets that their training was over for the day and if they would kindly depart.

All the staff wondered what the hell was going on and figured something major was happening. When the cadets departed I explained the fact that our boss had committed suicide in the most delicate way I could. Remember these people are used to sudden deaths due to the nature of their occupations and many had handled suicides in their past, but this was hitting very close to home for them. There definitely were some tears and some hugs in the next few minutes.

The worst part was that there were no reliefs to come in and take over for these people. The only other people that could stand in for relief were also going to be grief stricken. The end result was that for the next 5 hours (give or take), the great operators of DOCC Saskatchewan went back to their work positions and answered the incoming 911 calls and other sundry calls from the general public and also answered the incoming radio calls from the members in the field with a professionalism that was second to none. The incoming Watch at 6:30 pm were briefed prior to their actual turnover and were faced with the same fate though they had 12 hours to sit and grieve before their shift was over.

Let me tell you, the suicide of our ‘Boss’ caused all of us to look at our lives a little closer and to also treat our fellow workers with a bit more humility and respect for the next while. We were acting like a cohesive unit finally. Everyone was trying to help the other and get our jobs done to the best of our abilities.  Butch would have been pleased.

Sadly, after not quite a month, the back stabbing and other crap that was the norm prior to the death was back. In actuality it was probably worse because the incoming ‘In Charge’ was not quite the strong person that Butch was and allowed some of it to get out of hand in my estimation.

Anyhow, as I was recalling this information and relaying some of it to my long lost friend and former co-worker Scott, all the suppressed feelings came rushing back. Feelings that I thought I had gotten over many years ago sure floated to the forefront once again. Definitely not feelings I like to have during the Christmas season.

As I walk my paper route in the mornings I run scenarios through my mind and try to make some sense of it all. Sadly, just as when the suicide happened, I don’t have any great insight in why or how come or what we (I) could have done to help our co-worker and friend get through his troubled times.

I guess I’ll just have to remember my friend and what was and get on with life just like all in DOCC did when we lost our ‘Leader’ those few short years ago.

Rest in Peace Butch

December 20, 2007 Posted by | RCMP | Leave a comment

Something Is Just Not Right

In case anyone has not seen the video on Robert Dziekanski, here is the YouTube video of the poor man dying.

November 15, 2007 Posted by | RCMP | Leave a comment

Good Deeds?

The bro-in-law dropped by on Wednesday just prior to departing town for work. He mentioned a vehicle parked down the street between his place and our house. Something didn’t sit right with this vehicle so he asked if I’d take a look at it when I was out on ‘walk about’. No problem.

Just after dinner I was going to go out and check the mail and also check the Legion Hut to ensure all was well there which I check every couple days. My travels took me past this vehicle (a van) that James was enquiring about. The Legion Hut was fine so onto the vehicle.

The vehicle was parked nice and legal on the far right hand side of the road, but it was in a location that I’ve never seen vehicles park before. The vehicle also is not one that I recognized from town. On closer look, the driver’s window was open and you could see where the rain had gotten in. I then walked around to the passenger side and I could see that the ignition was pulled off and there was a drill bit sitting on the seat. My hunch was that this was a stolen vehicle, so I copied down the licence plate and headed for home.

I fired up my trusted computer and headed over to CPIC Search to see if I could ascertain anything on the plate as to whether it was stolen or not. Sure enough I got a positive hit on the licence plate and was advised to contact the local Police.

I then called the local RCMP Detachment for Hanley however, I was transferred into Saskatoon as the local office was unmanned. I explained to the receptionist who answered my call that I suspected a vehicle was stolen and that I had queried the internet and received a positive reply. Her reply was that she didn’t think a private citizen could query CPIC for licence plates. I assured her we could and I had however I suggested she ‘run’ her own query through her official CPIC system.

In a second or so she came back on the line and advised that the plate was actually stolen a day or so ago from the city of Saskatoon. The gal then asked that I wait and she’d check with the members to see if they would attend the vehicle or not. Within a few seconds she advised they would and then took down my name and phone number and thanked me for the call.

About 3 to 3 1/2 hours later a police car showed up in town and attended to the vehicle. This unit was actually a Vonda Detachment car (about an hour away from town) which explains the lengthy time arriving on the scene. Mind you there was no urgency to the call as there was no one in the vehicle and it wasn’t going anywhere. That is what you get when the RCMP went to the hub Detachment setup. When the local Detachment members are not on duty then one of the other Detachments in the hub get to take the calls. The units can be a lengthy distance away from one call to the next so it can take some time for the members to arrive on scene. At least the member did attend, called a tow truck and the vehicle was hauled back into the city for return to the owner.

I was talking to a couple local people a day or so later about the vehicle and was surprised that many people had seen this vehicle sitting on the side of the street. Originally the vehicle had it’s lights on (with no one around) and was running. The vehicle sat on the street with the lights on for many hours until presumably the vehicle ran out of gas and shut down and eventually the battery ran down so the lights would not show up.

I find this odd that people actually saw this for a length of time and took no action. Or possibly they did call the local Detachment and were transferred through to Saskatoon after 5 rings as happened to me. Then if the Saskatoon office was busy, they could have conceiveably received a message manager after 5 more rings or been transferred to the DOCC Saskatchewan number. If it was DOCC, then due to the workload, it could be 2-3 or even 5 more rings before they could answer. You have to remember these are not 911 calls, but still they are police calls. Maybe folks just gave up and hung up in frustration? If the persons that found it odd that this vehicle was sitting with it’s lights on and didn’t do anything, then that is troubling. Some people just don’t want to get involved or unsure of what to do.

As well it must have been our local Detachment members days off or something as you would think the members would find it odd that a vehicle sat on the side of the street for any length of time with it’s lights on and no one around. They most certainly would query the vehicle thru the CPIC system. But as the locals were not on duty, the town must have been switched over to one of the other hub Detachments. Either these hub members were too busy to attend to patrol through the town or had other duties to keep them occupied.

That sure doesn’t give you the warm and snugglies . . .

August 25, 2007 Posted by | Hanley, RCMP | Leave a comment

Are The Hanley Boys Practicing? I just came acros…

Are The Hanley Boys Practicing?

I just came across the attached video and just have to wonder if Hanley’s Finest are out practicing to catch our locals when they go 4 wheeling 🙂

http://ImServingMyCountry.vidiac.com/video/5b7cf8ad-13ae-43f2-aaf3-982300f95932.htm 

In this case, I’m thinking the ‘Queens Cowboys‘ catch the bad guys!

June 10, 2007 Posted by | Hanley, RCMP | 1 Comment