Thursday, June 4, 2009

When is a shooting not a shooting?

When is a shooting not a shooting? When is a homicide not a homicide? The answer is when it happens in Peel Region. I can’t for the life of me understand how information flows in this police force, other to say that it flows very slowly. Last night I responded to the report of a shooting in the area of Shipp Dr. near Square One Mall. I got on scene to find a massive display of yellow tape surrounding a condominium and blocking a large portion of the street. You can always count on Peel to spare nothing when it comes to yellow tape. Just for a laugh I would love to compare the budget for crime tape between Peel and other jurisdictions. The displays and designs they come up with are almost art. It’s not yellow ribbon guys its crime scene tape.

Here is another thing you can always count on in Mississauga and Brampton. When the media shows up the fact that they are on scene will always be broadcast over the police radio system. I don’t know if constables get a prize for being the fist to spot the cameras but you will always hear “Media on Scene!” as soon as you pull your camera from its bag. I fail to understand why this is pertinent information that needs to be shared with all 30 officers on scene. Do they change behavior at this point or is it just a signal for everyone to get ready for the close-up?

A Sergeant came over to talk to me. He informed me that the scene was expanding and that I would need to move back further. They were putting up more yellow tape. Three officers were already pulling large rolls of the stuff from the trunks of cruisers. I asked him if he had any information he could share. He told me that he didn’t and that the Duty Inspector, who was also on scene, was far too busy to talk. I was told to call Media Relations who were eagerly awaiting my call. Some six hours after the shooting, which actually was a homicide, Media Relations was still calling it a “disturbance” and not even confirming that a shooting had taken place. OPP and Metro Police were already broadcasting descriptions of two vehicles wanted in a Peel Region shooting but Peel had not even confirmed to the media and by default to the citizens of Mississauga, that a shooting had even taken place.

This reminds me of the Iraq Government Spokesperson better known as Baghdad Bob claiming that there were no American tanks in Baghdad.

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