Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


As some of my readers know by now, a senior ranking officer of the Vancouver police department is being investigated regarding possession of child pornography. While certain information on the police member has been closely guarded and kept secret, what this blog writer has uncovered is very troubling if the allegations are proven as fact.

The officer in question heads up the Missing persons unit of the VPD. This unit works closely with the Vice squad and Homicide unit. The officer in question is connected to the Coroner's Liaision unit. In which time period, this officer was placed in charge of this unit is unknown.

Due to possible charges (of child pornography) being brought against the officer raises many flags. One of which is whether any sex workers may have been harmed by indifference or negligence as a result of interactions with this unit. This possibility is of critical importance since, this department works very closely on matters related to violence and victimization of sex workers.

Already, it has leaked out that a senior officer of the VPD, has sworn evidence in order for the search warrant to be executed on the alleged officer's home. This officer has connections to the sex worker population. A number of years back, many sex workers on the Franklin stroll complained of mistreatment by a certain officer. For this officer to be directly involved in this case brings with it, serious concerns from sex worker advocates.

The missing persons unit a number of years back, completely mishandled the Downtown Eastside now murdered women's cases. Leads were not followed through on information provided at that time. The unit was in complete denial that a serial killer(s) was at work in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. In fact, a senior officer of the VPD, who was the only officer with expertise on profiling serious crime--Dr Kim Rossmo-- pleaded with senior ranking officers to acknowledge that there was a strong possibility that a serial predator was stalking women in the Downtown Eastside. He wanted the VPD to go public with his concerns. These senior officers discounted Mr Rossmo's theories and shortly thereafter terminated his contract.

Now, that this latest allegation has surfaced, it calls into question once again, whether the Vancouver Police should be investigating themselves. The alleged officer without doubt, has many friends in the department. He has worked on matters related to vice issues. His connections to the officer who swore information for a search warrant on this matter needs to be examined. Whether any complaints regarding possible interactions with prostitutes needs to be explored.

An example of another issue arising from this sordid mess, is due to the alleged officer being responsible for files involving children and youth. He was the primary investigator for juveniles reported missing and child abduction cases. Of course, he would also have been directly involved in missing prostitute complaints.

What is troubling with this case is that the alleged suspended officer was in charge of bestowing Queen's Jubilee Commemorative medals to fellow officers. Whether this will have any impact on officers who received these medals, hence their loyalty to the officer who bestowed them, needs to be considered. This is why, an investigation of this officer must be re-moved from the internal investigation branch of the VPD.

Moreover, equally troubling is that this officer was a Sergeant in charge of the Victim Services unit. Many sex workers accessed this unit and whether they were treated appropriately needs answering.

The Police Chief, due to the sensitive nature of this matter needs to stand up, exercise leadership and calm fears that this potential scandal does not involve other Vancouver police officers. Chief Graham needs to assure the public, that children, youth and sex workers haven't been harmed as a result of these latest allegations to rock the department. In fact, Chief Graham needs to appoint an outside agency to investigate other claims which may arise out of this investigation.

And finally, due to repeated evidential fact, the Chief needs to support the calls for a Public Inquiry on Prostitution related matters that involve the Vancouver Police Department.

Jamie Lee Hamilton