A related issue is whether journalists can be shielded from having to reveal their sources and essentially becoming proxies for police investigations, he added. - Jim Bronskill OTTAWA RCMP looking to expand media protections amid police surveillance concerns The RCMP is eyeing a policy change for organized crime investigations to better protect the rights of journalists, newly disclosed documents say. The possible move follows revelations in Quebec about surveillance of reporters by provincial and municipal police and growing concern about the ability of journalists to shield sources from authorities. Under a 2003 ministerial directive, the RCMP must take special care in national security investigations involving sensitive spheres such as the media, politics, academia, religion and unions. It means Mounties must seek high-level approvals before engaging in terrorism and espionage probes that touch these sectors. “Recognizing the sensitivity of investigations involving the media, we are currently discussing how to apply this national security related ministerial directive to all RCMP federal investigations, such as those involving organized crime,” internal Mountie briefing notes say. The Canadian Press recently obtained the November 2016 notes through the Access to Information Act. RCMP spokesman Harold Pfleiderer had no additional comment. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the cabinet member responsible for the RCMP, has previously said the government is reviewing the 2003 directive to ensure the language is sufficient to safeguard press freedoms. The internal notes say the Mounties do not engage in activities to investigate or disrupt the efforts of journalists that are protected by the charter. “That said, the RCMP does have the mandate and responsibility to investigate criminal activity, which could involve individuals in a variety of professions, including journalism.” The RCMP’s push to broaden the 2003 ministerial directive could spring from a desire within the force to avoid the pitfalls of spying on journalists — such as the current glare of publicity in Quebec, suggested Wesley Wark, a national security expert at the University of Ottawa. In 2007, the RCMP contravened the ministerial directive in conducting physical surveillance of two journalists in an attempt to identify the person who leaked a classified Canadian Security Intelligence Service document. The surveillance was unauthorized and ended once RCMP management became aware. EDMONTON Alberta announces a review of photo radar due to cash-cow concerns Alberta is reviewing photo radar across the province, responding to concerns that what is supposed to be a watchdog road safety tool has morphed into an engorged cash cow. Transportation Minister Brian Mason says a review is now underway in his department. It’s a plan that has the support of all four opposition parties in the legislature. “There’s a strong public view, I think, that photo radar has gone beyond just enforcing safe traffic and has become, in some cases, a bit of a cash cow for municipalities,” Mason said. “That is a misuse, if that is occurring. We need to know to the degree to which that is occurring, and we need to make sure that we correct that.” Municipalities with 5,000 residents or more can run photo radar through their local police or RCMP. Most of the money from a photo radar ticket — 73 per cent — goes to the municipality. The other 27 per cent goes to the province. Every ticket has a 15 per cent surcharge for a victims of crime fund. Under guidelines established in 2014, photo radar should be set up in areas where drivers habitually ignore traffic laws, where there have been a lot of collisions or pedestrian accidents, or where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic. The guidelines are flexible but the overarching principle is public safety. Mason said his department will review where municipalities are running photo radar and how much money they are receiving. Mason’s department could not provide figures or municipal breakdowns on how much money photo radar is collecting. Mason said that will be part of the review, which he wants completed by the fall. The Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties have previously raised questions about photo radar. Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney has been calling for a photo radar review following a cross-province tour he made to win the party leadership in March. He said he heard “hundreds of Albertans in every corner of the province” express frustration with photo radar. - Dean Bennett SPRUCE GROVE The RCMP Fight clubs and social media RCMP are investigating a suspected fight club involving teens in a community just west of Edmonton. Police say they’re checking allegations that youths in Spruce Grove are using social media to announce the fights that are attracting spectators. A woman in the community tells CTV that earlier this month, her junior high-aged son was injured in a fight and was pressured into participating in the altercation with another boy a grade ahead of him. The woman, who doesn’t want her name revealed to protect her boy’s identity, says her son needed plastic surgery to repair multiple facial injuries and will probably miss classes for the rest of the school year as he recovers. Mounties are monitoring social media and reaching out to local schools to keep students from taking part in fights. They say participation in such activity could lead to criminal charges. TORONTO Pride Toronto moves closer to securing annual grant amid controversy Canada’s largest Pride parade is one step closer to securing municipal funding that has been threatened by a decision to ban uniformed police officers from the annual event. Pride Toronto has sparked controversy ever since a decision early this year to ban police floats from the colourful summer parade. Recently, a committee at Toronto City Hall recommended upholding a $260,000 annual grant to the event after a petition from Olivia Nuamah, the executive director of Pride Toronto. A final ruling on the fate of the grant is still pending. Toronto Mayor John Tory has expressed his support for the funding, saying both Pride Toronto and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders have told him cutting the grant would not help resolve the controversy around the parade. Earlier this year, a Toronto city councillor called for the grant to be revoked over Pride Toronto’s decision to ban police floats, saying the event had become exclusionary. The union representing Toronto police officers quickly echoed that call, saying it would be unacceptable for the city to sponsor an event that shuts out certain municipal employees. In a recently released statement, Pride Toronto reiterated that police officers were welcome at the parade so long as they appeared as civilians rather than in an official capacity. The organization said officers could participate in the march if they left their uniforms, weapons and cruisers behind. In January, Pride Toronto decided to adopt a list of demands issued by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, which included a ban on police floats. The issue first made headlines during last year’s parade, when members of the anti-racism group staged a sit-in that halted the march until Pride organizers signed a list of demands. - Paola Loriggio News files from Canadian Press Panasonic has “police in mind” with Toughbook 33 reveal Panasonic went way, way up for the launch of its latest rugged laptop — 1,776 feet up to be exact. This spring, Panasonic’s Toughbook 33 made its debut on the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Centre, also known as the Freedom Tower, in New York City to a select group of customers and media. Designed with direct input from lawenforcement officers currently in the field, Panasonic says the latest Toughbook edition has “police in mind” when it comes to display adjustments, ergonomic accessories and high-tech security add-ons. “Tonight we turn the page on the next chapter of the Toughbook story, and it’s an exciting one,” said Magnus McDermid, vice-president of enterprise solutions at Panasonic Canada and senior vice-president of mobility at Panasonic North America, adding the Toughbook has now been around for two decades. With jaw-dropping views of sunset-soaked Manhattan below, Panasonic introduced “the first fully-rugged, 2-in-1 detachable laptop that features a 3:2 display,” powered by 7th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Windows 10 Pro. The product involved two years of work, said Dan Diliberti, Panasonic’s head of mobility products and market strategy, and a “unique development process” entailing one-on-one focus groups. The company discovered a number of concerns regarding the former 16 x 9 inch display (the Toughbook 33 is 12.3 inches long, 11.4 inches wide and 1.8 inches high, weighing 6.1 lbs.). “A lot of our business customers are running legacy applications that have not yet been converted to keep up with the times and these weren’t rendering properly on a 16 x 9 display. This was a big influence on the decisions we made,” Diliberti said. As law enforcement officers can’t be wasting time scrolling, he added, Toughbook 33’s display now has 15 per cent more viewing area, and the 1200 nit QHD, high-resolution widescreen also means it’s easier to handle applications like Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), which many police force members use. Other benefits of a 3:2 screen over the standard widescreen, according to Panasonic, includes less vertical scrolling, an aspect ratio that better approximates the feel of 8.5 x 11 paper, and less interference around airbag zones for better vehicle-occupant safety. Backward compatibility, flexibility and at least 10-hours of battery were also top desires expressed from the focus groups. Speaking to the flexibility side of things, Diliberti said Toughbook 31 customers explained it cost between $500-1,000 to replace the equipment in their work vehicles. Panasonic responded with a new vehicle dock adapter, which allows drop-in placement onto any of Panasonic’s large installed base of Toughbook 31 vehicle docks. Other significant Toughbook 33 features include an infrared camera, Windows Hello — Microsoft’s new biometric security system — as well as six usage modes and two keyboards. Windows Hello is crucial for police, who often have to log into the system quickly, noted Jennifer Scott, a U.S. account manager for Panasonic Toughbook Mobility Solutions. The program scans your face, she said, and can tell the difference between two twins, even in low-light conditions. The product also comes with the optional fingerprint reader and can save you the backache, Scott said, from turning to type out reports on the laptop (clamshell) dock thanks to the 2-in-1 vehicle dock, which utilizes the detachable “premium keyboard” and features a convertible mode. “From the beginning, we’ve designed the Toughbook product line with the demands of the mobile workforce in mind and the 2-in-1 Toughbook 33 device is the truest expression of that commitment to date,” concluded Brian Rowley, vice-president of marketing and product management, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “One thing we know for sure, the workplace is changing,” he added, speaking to technology and innovation. – Renée Francoeur The Strathroy- Caradoc police services board has appointed Mark Campbell as the new police chief. Campbell has been working as the acting chief for the past five months. The board says he started his policing career with London police in 1990 before taking a job with the Strathroy force in 1999. A graduate of Western University, Campbell also serves as the chair of Middlesex Community Living. Deputy Chief Bill Moore announced he’s retiring from Halifax Regional Police, effective June 30, 2017, to become the executive director of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP). Moore has been a police officer for more than 30 years, starting with the Dartmouth Police Department and then HRP. He has been a member of the management team since 2008, according to HRP. Darrell Kambeitz, the Chief of the Camrose Police Service, retired in May, concluding a 36-year career in policing. Kambeitz held executive positions with the local and provincial police associations while rising within the ranks. He received the Governor Generals Police Exemplary 20 year medal in 2001, the Queens Golden Jubilee medal in 2002, the Alberta Centennial medal in 2005, the Alberta Exemplary 25 year service medal in 2006, the Governor Generals Police Exemplary 30 year service bar in 2011, the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 and the Member of Order of Merit of the Police Forces in 2015. Deputy Chief Lee Foreman will assume the Chief’s duties until a new Chief is identified. Robin McElary- Downer is the South Simcoe Police Service’s new Deputy Chief, as selected by the Bradford West Gwillimbury-Innisfil Police Services Board. She formally served as the Chief Adjudicator for the Ontario Provincial Police. McElary-Downer started her career in policing as a constable with the OPP in 1981, and has served as manager of the First Nations Policing Section, as Director of Investigations under the auspices of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and headed the Queen’s Park Detachment, with the Protective Services Bureau. PROMOTIONS, RETIREMENTS, RECOGNITION • If you have a senior officer in your agency recently promoted or retiring or an individual you wish to have recognized (major award or recently deceased) you can let Blue Line magazine know by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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