Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why do good people drink and drive?

I've seen it so many times. People start with the best of intentions. They'll go out for a couple of beers. They have every intention of having a drink and maybe some dinner, then going home.

Good company and laughs with friends turns one drink into four. That's the problem with alcohol. The more you drink the less you see the potential for problems.

"Don't worry I'm fine to drive." Then before you know it you're in handcuffs, charged with impaired driving. Hopefully you haven't killed someone.

Your best bet? Leave the car at home. That way you will not be tempted to drive once your judgement is impaired.

Here are some recent crashes I've attended that police say involved alcohol.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Double Fatal Fire

Two dead and four others to hospital, including two firefighters, after this North York house fire. The fire was on Charrington Cres near Jane and Sheppard. Two deceased victims were found in the basement.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Diwali Fireworks

I stopped by an Etobicoke temple for Diwali fireworks. I was made to feel very welcome. Lots of fun!

Dundas Ontario Fire

A photo from last weeks large fire down by Hamilton.

Car Into a Pole

How not to fly your dragon. Broadview and Eastern Ave. Two females to St Mike's.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fatal 403 Crash

I've been to another crash, almost in the same spot, with a similar outcome. This time a driver crashes into a crew performing maintenance on some electrical equipment located in the ditch.

One dead and one in critical condition.

Canlish Rd Fatal 2 Alarm Fire

First callers on this fire reported people trapped in the house. By the time it was over firefighters had pulled three people from the smoke filled building.

This was a tough one to cover. It's never good to see firefighters dragging bodies on to front lawns and starting CPR immediately.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Police Chief / Newspapers Editor / TV News Director

Police Chief / Newspaper Editor / TV News Director
These are the new job duties of Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire
After reading two articles published in today's Hamilton Spectator, I wanted to speak out on how I see things. The comments section of the newspaper was my first choice. My remarks were too long winded to publish. Thus I turn to Blogger.
Police in Hamilton and nearby Halton Region have recently decided to encrypt all radio transmissions. This has left local media clueless as to what is going on, especially in the evening and overnight, after police media relations officers go home for the day.
Hamilton Police Cheif Glenn De Caire says it's his duty to control crime and people's fear of crime. I say he only wants to control the flow of information in the hopes of making everyone see the world the way he wants us to see it.
The Hamilton Police Chief wants to "manage the fear of crime". This translates into "Out of site out of mind."

Think about this .... a man gets shot on Barton St. Under the old system a journalist or camera person may show up within minutes. It would be all laid out for everyone to see. Not just the people standing nearby that would talk about it with friends. Thousands would see on TV and in newspaper photos, how the man lay there bleeding, as paramedics pumped rhythmically on his chest, trying to bring a dying man back to life.

They would look on as he was lifted onto a stretcher and wheeled by with his lifeless arms hanging over the side of the stretcher, as the firefighter who is assisting, now rides the rails of the stretcher pumping his chest like he's beating a drum, trying to bring the man back from the dead.

That is the reality of what a shooting looks like. The Chief may think it's better if less people get to see this. He may cringe when he looks on as the video runs over and over again throughout the day on TV and streams on demand across the newspaper's website. This doesn't change a damn thing. Reality is still reality. That is what a murder looks like. Many would say they don't need the Chief of Police to also be the Editor of the local newspaper or the control valve for what gets seen on TV.

Now let's move forward. The new radio system protects officer safety. What else does it do? It guarantees the cameras will almost never be there to document reality. From now on it will be video and pictures taken hours or days after the fact. The stretcher is gone, the victim is already cooling in the morgue, his friends and relatives have been taken back to the station. Witnesses are gone. The bullet casings have been taken into evidence and nothing remains but an empty street. This is the new reality. Especially if the event happens in the evening or overnight. The media will only know about it the next day, if and when Hamilton Police choose to tell them.
Now take Joe public and ask him how bad crime is in his city. Under the old system he might say it's horrific, totally out of control. "I saw that story last week where they were doing CPR on that poor guy! It was terrible." Then wait until a year after the new world order where police strictly control the flow of information and thus control what images, words and descriptions are published in the local media. Ask Joe public the same question and you may get a different answer.

I've been covering crime stories for 25 years. I've seen it all. Hundreds of deaths. Hundreds of shooting victims. I've watched as brave men and women of our EMS and Fire Services try to bring the dead back to life. I know where the bodies lay. I can describe Toronto geography by crime scenes I've attended. I've been listening to scanners for decades. I know how they work and I know how to program them. I listen to 9 while I work overnight covering breaking news in Toronto for CBC. I've been first to arrive on scene as officers struggled with suspects. I've even helped officers who said yes when I asked if they needed a hand. I'm sure many tow truck driver have also done the same thing. We are all on the same team. We are the good guys.
Nothing prevents police from allowing media to listen even under the new encrypted system. In fact it's even easier to control access as the radios are all numbers in the system, they cannot be copied and they can be wiped clean at the stroke of a keyboard if lost. They could easily provide "receive only" radios that would allow media access while making sure criminals cannot listen. I doubt it will ever happen.
Police don't want media around when they are attending to breaking news stories and violent crimes. They only want them there when they need them. When some elderly person or kid is missing and they need everyone in the city to be looking for them. When they are looking for witnesses on a cold case. When they need us, not when we need them. Especially not when an officer needs to get a little heavy handed in order to bring a bad guy around to his way of thinking.

Does the public even want to watch as all the real life drama flashes across the TV screen? If they don't they will change channels. I for one want to know what is really going on in my city not just what some cop thinks I should know. I don't need a cop to make me wear his particular brand of rose coloured glasses.
That's reality from where I sit.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Live in Fear of Dying

I've been covering the bad news for years. Sure, Ive covered my fair share of good news stories, but the bad news generally outweighs the good. It seems to attract people like a moth to a flame. If it bleeds it leads is how the old saying goes. Not much has changed over my 25 years covering local news.

I've seen so much over the years. So many lives lost to crime and criminals. Other deaths are called accidents, although usually we see a definite cause, not much of an accident at all. You've got your shootings, stabbings, fatal car accidents, pedestrian struck, hit by a train, jumped from a bridge and the list goes on and on.

This business of covering breaking news has most certainly left me jaded. I trust few strangers and tend to see the negative much more often than the positive.On the night shift they're selling drugs, robbing the weak, praying on the fear of others.You have quiet nights every now and then but in a huge city like Toronto, the action never really stops. It just ebbs and flows.

I don't mourn for those who live by the sword and die by the sword. I have to be honest and say I feel little for the drug dealers who die in late night robberies and ripoffs. I mourn for the innocent, the people that go shopping or to the movies and catch a bullet at the hand of a criminal. For the families that get in a car to drive home, taking time to fasten their seat belts and adjust the mirrors, only to be killed by some selfish bastard who drinks until he can't see straight, then gets behind the wheel of a car.

What do I fear? I fear getting caught up in someone else's crime spree. Whether a drug deal gone wrong, a gangbanger's chance meeting or a drunk driver missing a red light as I cruise around the city at night. These are the things that I roll around in my head, after all these years of covering bad news. I know the chances are slim. I know I probably have more chance of having a heart attack or some other health issue. I still fear getting caught up in the randomness of life. The out of control truck. The man who just happens to be in the wrong place at the right time.

I enjoy every day as much as I can. I cherish time with my family. I do what I can to stay safe. The rest is out of my hands.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Week is a Blur

It has been an insane week in Toronto. Twenty-seven shootings in three days, on my night shift, have left my head spinning.

Tonight is my Friday. I'm just hoping for a quiet shift.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Fun Never Stops!

Busy night last night with Project Domo drug warrants, crazy crashes and SIU investigations.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Raccoon Rescue

We had this raccoon trapped inside Shopper's Drug Mart. It turned into baby raccoons separated from mom. After waiting hours for mom to return I scooped the babies in a box and took them back up onto the roof, with the help of Jason and Tom.

Your raccoon rescue team.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May Long Weekend

Great weather today and we spent all day doing some landscaping around the house we bought late last year in Stoney Creek.

The only crime i dealt with today was the high price of plants and flowers. I'm not used to this manual labour. Here's what we did .....