Posts Tagged ‘calgary police

Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson ends 2012 on right Opportunity

- January 1st, 2013

Rickhanson

Calgary’s top cop can be hard to pin down, and I often don’t see eye-to-eye with him.

I’ve disagreed with his stance on the police budget, distracted driving, and his response to investigations involving his officers. Just about a year ago, I took him to task for pushing a very old-fashioned approach to dealing with social disorder: Raising the drinking age. The numbers, I said last January, just don’t bear out his theory.

But there are times where we see eye to eye, and he has ended 2012 pushing a very progressive approach to crime — attempting to keep people with mental health and addiction issues out of the justice system.

Programs like the Calgary Drug Court have proven successful because they help deal with the cause of some people’s criminal ways, drug addiction, and ensure they receive help for that addiction.

Recidivism rates among graduates in programs like this are low, so they help reduce crime, and keep the costs to the taxpayer down. A win-win for people who want to stamp out crime and save cash.

Hanson has taken the approach a step further, and announced in a year-end interview with the Sun the Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Centre would open this year, helping people get in touch with appropriate resources, whether health or social care, and hopefully prevent people from turning to crime.

These kinds of initiatives are essential to help keep streets safe, and are an important step forward.

With this pilot project a go, here’s hoping Hanson moves to pressure the province on his next big cause: So-called “safe jails,” where addicts whose crimes are more serious are serving time in facilities for addicts.

Every addict who comes out of jail clean of drugs is one less addict we need to worry about.

Dialling up questions on distracted driving law success

- June 21st, 2012

For the last few months, Alberta has been under rule of the distracted driving legislation, banning talking, texting, makeup application, reading, etc., while behind the wheel.

I have written my fair share about problems with the law, including provisions that prohibit changing music yet still allows lighting a smoke, or the nice sections that say you can’t even check your phone if you’re stuck at a rail crossing. And as a top traffic cop has suggested he’s seeing people go to greater lengths to hide banned behaviour, thereby taking eyes further off the wheel, there is fear of a greater risk of crashes.

But at least one member of the force is crediting the law for a reduction in crashes.

“I personally believe that’s the reason,” said CPS spokesman Kevin Brookwell, regarding the perceived link between the province’s distracted driving law and a large drop in crashes in the last three months of 2011 and the same period of 2010.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, there were about 9,400 crashes, compared to more than 13,000 in 2010.

A nice drop. Nothing to sneeze at, really. Fewer crashes are a good thing.

But because of the distracted driving law? Prove it.

Just because the legislation came into effect Sept. 1, doesn’t mean it gets credit for the drop.

After all, in the previous year’s three months, there was a drop of 2,000 crashes. And that followed two years of hikes.

Maybe some drivers were being extra cautious in Calgary in 2010 AND 2011. Maybe the new law played a role, but no one can give it credit for the whole drop.

To continue the analysis and looking at the first three months of 2012, a similar claim could be made. After all, from 2011 to 2012, there was a drop of about 2,000 crashes for the quarter.

But there was a larger drop, 3,000 fewer crashes, between the same periods in 2009 and 2010 and that drop was book-ended by spikes.

Traffic patterns, including crashes, fluctuate.

A drop can never be attributed to a single factor, and that includes distracted driving legislation.