Let’s Get Back To Fighting Crime

In Editor Choice

Editorial – Late Wednesday afternoon Cobourg Police Chief Kai Liu issued a press release stating five members of the Cobourg Police Service Honour Guard attended Cleveland, Ohio for the 33rd Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Service.
The Cobourg Police Service Honour Guard was created in 2013 and is currently a nine member team consisting of sworn police officers, special constables and auxiliary officers.
Liu states that all officers, “attend most events by volunteering their time.”
What is ironic, and so disappointing and could almost be considered disrespectful is there were very few serving officers with the Cobourg Police Service who attended the annual remembrance service for fallen Cobourg Police Constable Chris Garrett which was only two days previously on May 15 in Cobourg.
At least one of the officers that was in the honour guard that attended Cleveland was at Chris Garrett Memorial Park, but it’s sad when people venture outside of Canada to remember fallen officers while they don’t have time to remember one of their own.
As Chief Liu stated in the release there are currently nine members of the Cobourg Police Service who are members of the honour guard. There were none wearing their honour guard uniform on May 15 honouring Constable Garrett.
Garrett, though mortally wounded went after his assailant striking him in the leg on May 15, 2004 in Cobourg while responding to a phoney robbery.
On May 15, 2018 Cobourg Police issued a release approximately one hour before the ceremony was about to begin inviting the public. It’s a safe bet, not many received it until after the ceremony was over.
It was also clearly visible to people attending the annual ceremony for Constable Garrett on May 15, 2018 that senior management was late in attending the ceremony. Anyone who wishes to speak usually does at noon. Senior management arrived at 12:30 p.m. There is a light lunch, members of the OPP, Cobourg Police, Durham Police, politicians and most importantly members of the Garrett family were there in attendance.
There have been two unconfirmed reports to Today’s Northumberland the police service may want to cancel the service held each year on the day Constable Garrett was murdered and saved numerous lives.
That was be an unspeakable tragedy and the ripples can still be felt throughout the community.   If it ever arises will generate much feedback and disdain.  It’s a fact Garrett saved numerous lives.  We should never ever forget any fallen hero and if we at Today’s Northumberland are apart of it, we never will.
But lets get back to Cleveland. Every single officer who gives their life in the line of duty should be honoured to the fullest extent. In the United States, or around the world. Of that, there is and should be no doubt.
Today’s Northumberland asked Cobourg police if there was some other reason for attending the ceremony in Cleveland. None was given. Was there a connection to Cobourg? We’re not sure.
Liu praises the five officers for attending “on their own time,” but didn’t mention if the officers paid for their trip.
Sgt. Mike Richardson confirmed the trip and expenses were paid for by the Cobourg Police Service.
Likely from the criminal record check department who seem to have an unlimited amount of cash because of the amazing job they are doing. High praise should be given to the members of that department which is soon going in the Venture 13 building.
But, when does the money train stop and when instead of putting on a show for the public will the police service get back to fighting crime.
Will the Honour Guard be attending services in every province? Overseas?
Today’s Northumberland thinks it’s time for local politicians to ask the uncomfortable questions that need to be asked.
Numerous officers have stated the morale is extremely low at the police service. In any organization there is disgruntled employees. But are their concerns valid?
Who gives the go-ahead for these items to be purchased? Does the Police Services Board permit the items, or is it the Chief?
Is the Police Services Board at arms length from the Police Service? No comment at this point, but time will tell in the coming days.
The Cobourg Police Service has promoted and provided numerous services for members of the community. The latest acquisition was the Cobourg Police Pipes and Drums who they are funding.
The Cobourg Legion Pipes Band/Cobourg Police Service Pipes and Drums was announced at their annual awards and recognition night on April 25. It might have been a proud night for many. But if it was such a proud night promoting such a great event, why wasn’t the media invited? The pipe band is truly an amazing ambassador to the Town of Cobourg everywhere they go. They are welcomed and enjoyed in both Ontario and the United States at events.
Speaking of the honours and awards celebration that’s held each year.  Retired members are regularly invited each year to the event.  But because the Cobourg Police Service Communications Department were disbanded communicators weren’t invited.  Some of those communicators spent nearly three decades working with the police service. When the police service has an apparent unlimited amount of cash it seems petty not to invite former employees who left when the communications service not by their choice.
A few years ago a drone was purchased, not entirely sure what happened to that. We have a new police trailer, even though during one walk along the boardwalk the “old” trailer was being used by someone the service had donated it too. Couldn’t have been in to bad shape. Was anyone else given an opportunity for it? Or did it just go to someone the service/board wanted it too?
During a event on Tuesday where a bicycle was used by many people as a fundraiser, a Cobourg Police Constable was driving a cruiser leading the bicycle team. But wouldn’t it have been more cost effective to have a Special Constable drive the cruiser and let the regular Constable on regular patrol?.
There have been many unanswered questions from the police service and the list keeps growing.
When there was an armed robbery in Cobourg recently, it was reported to Today’s Northumberland the OPP weren’t notified till approximately one hour later even though their detachment is located within throwing distance of the scene.
When they were later notified an OPP canine unit along with Emergency Response Team members attended the scene of the crime.
Speaking of which, if the police service has an apparent unlimited cash flow thanks to the Criminal Record Check Department how about throwing some money to actual crime fighting?
How about getting a canine unit for the service and when needed for the neighbouring Port Hope Police Service. It is no fault of the OPP, but the nearest canine unit, if it is available would be approximately one hour away, at the best of times.
When Constable Garrett was murdered in the early hours of May 15, 2004 there were four officers working that night. Reports to Today’s Northumberland indicate that it’s not uncommon to have half that number working at night. It certainly can’t be a budget issue as they are breaking the bank with funds created.
Police have admitted there wasn’t a proper investigation by the service involving a break and enter in Cobourg. Police admitted they didn’t do a scenes of crime examination looking for any sign of finger prints.
Just a few days ago, three children were approached by a stranger while walking home. There was no sign of anything illegal that happened, but a release reminding parents to be vigilant certainly would have been than appropriate.
The public needs to look past the colourful uniforms and the smiling faces of the echelons of upper management and demand answers. The Police Services Board should also be held accountable.
Let’s get the service back on track and fight crime.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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