Media Coverage Regarding Police Check Of Poppy Box Donation Volunteers

Date:

Contact:

Telephone:

2018 November 30

Cst Jeff Palmer

604 925 7429

An interaction between a West Vancouver Police officer and two community members October 27, 2018 has become subject of media coverage alleging improper profiling.   West Vancouver Police wish to ensure our community is fully informed of steps taken to address this matter.

West Vancouver Police are grateful to serve in a diverse community.  The responsibility of ensuring our police service and community interactions are free of any bias is taken very seriously by every employee of the West Vancouver Police.

Any indication that treatment of an individual would be affected in any way due to ethnicity is of the highest concern for West Vancouver Police.  The interaction involving our officer that has become subject of a media report has and continues to be subject of a detailed and ongoing review. The independent Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner has been notified and updated regarding this matter.

West Vancouver Police wish to further assure our whole community that no basis has been identified to date to indicate any improper conduct by our officer.

While this matter has now been referenced in media reporting, individuals directly involved in this matter have elected not to bring their concerns directly to either West Vancouver Police or the independent Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner.  The matter was brought to West Vancouver Police by a third party on behalf of the two community members.  No formal complaint has yet been registered.

West Vancouver Police accept our responsibility to be accountable to our community at all times and to fully inform our community.  Accordingly, we are sharing the following information regarding our understanding of the interaction between our officer and two males.

  • On the afternoon of October 27th, 2018 a WVPD officer conducting patrols observed two young males in Park Royal area in possession of what appeared to be Poppy Donation Collection boxes.
  • The officer was aware of theft reports involving poppy donation boxes around the Lower Mainland and was concerned that it was early for donation boxes to be gathered.  
  • The officer did not note any clothing, ID or badging to indicate the young males had any association with the Legion.
  • The officer kept the males under observation while asking Dispatchers to contact the West Vancouver Legion to confirm whether any authorized collection of donation boxes was underway. (Transcript of officer’s radio transmissions regarding this matter below.)
  • The males got in a vehicle and drove away.  The officer followed without stopping the vehicle, awaiting a further update from dispatch.
  • Dispatchers were unable to contact any representative of the Legion.
  • The officer then saw the males pull to a stop adjacent to the West Vancouver Legion.  The officer pulled alongside, spoke for approximately ten seconds with the males, confirmed they were delivering the donation boxes to the Legion, thanked the males, and drove away. (Transcript of Police Vehicle Dash Cam Video Including Officer’s Conversation With Males follows below. *Note - Dash Cam Video is withheld from release subject to privacy protections afforded the males spoken with in this matter under the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy. Written consent of both males is required for release of the video.)
  • The officer has advised he wished only to check that donation boxes were being collected by authorized volunteers and discontinued observation of the males as soon as that appeared to be the case. Ethnicity of the males was not a factor in determining whether to proceed with any check.
  • The males were not asked to individually identify themselves.  Their individual personal information was not obtained and nor was their personal information entered by the officer in any police database. 
  • Concern over the officer’s actions were brought to West Vancouver Police by a representative of the club the young men were volunteering for. 
  • A detailed review of the interactions is ongoing.
  • Our executive officers have been in ongoing communication with the individual who brought concerns forward on behalf of the young men, seeking to encourage them to bring their concerns directly to police or if they wish, to bring the concerns directly to the independent Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner.  To date, neither male has chosen to do so.
  • Through the third party, West Vancouver Police have offered to participate in a mediation process with the males, and the officer involved has offered to meet with the young males to attempt to find a better understanding. To date, neither male has chosen to do so.

Police respect and deeply value diversity and work on an ongoing basis to build strong relationships with all in our community.  Whether individuals descend from original indigenous inhabitants of this area, or have newly joined our community from elsewhere in the world, our police training from the Police Academy to ongoing initiatives in the community emphasize that everyone has a right to equal treatment by police. 

Transcript of WVP Radio Transmissions Regarding This Matter 

October 27, 2018 Approximately 1600 to 16:11 hours

Constable A:       51 from Tango 1                 

Sergeant:             Go ahead

Constable A:       It’s usually members from the legion that pick up, uh, poppy, sorry poppy collection uh, boxes correct?

Sergeant:             Yeah I believe so it’s usually the veterans or the legion members

Constable A:       10-4, I’ve got two guys, uh, they’ve just gone VCB(Visual Contact Broken) uh that were walking through, I’ve got them back on view uh Park Royal by Homesense uh with two collection boxes in their hands. They’ve got into a vehicle. I’m just trying to reacquire it

Sergeant:             Yeah, they should have ID at the least

Constable A:       10-4

Constable A:       West Van Tango 1 for a plate

Dispatch:             Go ahead    

Constable A:       (Plate Redacted Per FOIPPA), we are uh just on Main Street heading northbound towards Marine Drive.

Dispatch:             10-4, its 10-10 showing active on a (Vehicle Description Redacted) out of (Redacted), RO(Registered Owner) is born in (redacted). He’s 10-10 with a valid class (redacted)

Constable A:       West Van Tango 1  

Dispatch:             Go ahead

Constable A:       Do you mind trying West Vancouver legion to find out if they’ve got anybody else uh collecting their poppy money boxes today?

Dispatch:             10-4

Dispatch:             Tango 1 its going to voicemail but I’ll keep trying

Constable A:       10-4   

Constable B:       Tango 1 from 5, what’s your 20?

Constable A:       Uh just going through the 1400 block of Marine coming up to 1500 block at a stale red

Constable B:       Copy that

Dispatch:             And Tango 1, I’m still unable to get through to the legion

Constable A:       10-4

Constable C:       Tango 1 from 6, I’m sitting at 23rd and Marine if you’re coming this way, I’ll cover

Constable A:       Uh 10-10, they’ve just turned northbound on 18th. It looks like they are heading to the legion.

Constable C:       Copy that

Constable A:       Tango 1 I’ll just be out with that vehicle, 18th

Dispatch:             10-4

Constable A:       West Van Tango 1, just spoke with the driver they’re parking outside the legion and taking the collection boxes in

Dispatch:             10-4

Transcript of Police Vehicle Dash Cam Video Including Officer’s Conversation With Males Collecting Poppy Donation Boxes.  

 

*Note - Dash Cam Video is withheld from release subject to privacy protections afforded the males spoken with in this matter under the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy. Written consent of both males is required for release of the video.

16:11:05 hrs                   (Video begins with Officer’s vehicle turning north on 18th Street from Marine Drive)

16:11:38 hrs                   Audio Begins

OFFICER:                          Hi guys, I saw you uh, coming out of uh, Park Royal with couple of collection boxes for poppies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

OFFICER:                          Are you guys just delivering it to the Legion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

OFFICER:                          Okay great, thank you very much. 

16:11:48 hrs                   (Background noise of OFFICER’s police vehicle driving away)

16:11:53 hrs

OFFICER                             West Van Tango-one, just spoke with the driver, uh, they’re parking outside the Legion            

                                            and taking the collection boxes in…

16:11:59 hrs                   END