Now we see the results:
Surrey RCMP made sure they not only knocked and announced their arrival at the million-dollar home of a suspected pot grower this week, but they blared a police siren as well.We need to keep in mind the larger picture behind all of this. When our legal system consistently tells police officers that they are not to be trusted to use professional judgment in cases like this (or in more serious matters dealing with organized crime, or even terrorism, the two being sometimes linked by the drug trade) and that in order to protect citizens from the potential for a police state, we will throw out cases of clear criminality, just because police have not met requirements for some arbitrarily-defined two minute plus warning, then we are demeaning the members of a profession that is essential to the integrity of a civilized form of society. This is not football.
The innovative approach to executing a search warrant was in response to a B.C. Supreme Court ruling earlier this month in which police were blasted for not giving enough warning to a pot grower before breaking down his door.
Justice Catherine Bruce dismissed the charges against Van Dung Cao, who was found with 700 pot plants, because police waited just two minutes after knocking before using a battering ram on his side door.
The controversial ruling left police flabberghasted and wondering what more they didn't to do to execute search on suspected drug houses.
So this week, they arrived in a marked police car at another suspected grow op at 85th Ave & 171 St. As they knocked and announced their arrival, they also turned on the police siren before entering and finding 1,600 pot plants.
The double-barrelled warning seemed to alert the residents, RCMP Sgt. Roger Morrow said in a news release.
"The two combined appear to have garnered the attention of the residents, one seen coming to a set of Venetian blinds, seeing police and then quickly retreating back into the confines of the home," Morrow said.
"Once getting through the barricaded front door, police located two further reinforced doors on the upper floor. While clearing the home looking for occupants, police located a rope ladder ready for use at a second floor window. The occupants, two Asian males and one female were subsequently found hiding in the attic having pulled a step ladder up behind them after accessing a hole in the ceiling."
Morrow earlier told The Vancouver Sun that Bruce's ruling did not give appropriate consideration to the fact police could face violence if they give too much warning to suspected drug traffickers.
And Solicitor-General John Les said a longer lag time would essentially give organized criminals time to "lock and load" before police entered.
Morrow said the house entered this week was worth at least a million dollars and that the grow op found inside was "extensive."
Police need to be accountable for their actions, but to make them accountable to some peculiar judicial ruling that does not allow for the necessary freedom of responsible professional judgment, as determined by officers on the scene, officers who will be held accountable for their screw ups, is to belittle the policing profession; and this will only likely mean that fewer people with skills and integrity will consider joining the profession. If certain judges are prone to see cops as toxic males with guns, there is no surer way to realize this prophecy than to treat cops accordingly. There once was a time, a couple of generations ago, when police brutality towards presumed criminals was not an uncommon thing, or so my reading of history leads me to believe. There was a good argument then for toughening up the rights of suspects, even throwing out cases where evidence had been gained through police violence, so that cops might know it was fruitless to use heavy-handed methods.
But there is a law of diminishing returns for every revelation and truth about our humanity that we hold dear. And we have surely realized it now in regard to treating police like dangerous thugs who can't be trusted to do their job in the face of an epidemic drug criminal culture in British Columbia. If we let our fears of a police state rule our every consideration about police conduct, we will just be making life easier for organized crime and, possibly, terrorists. Those judges who hold our police in such low regard that they throw out cases against clear criminals, as if that were the only way to insure police are responsibly policing their own members, need to hear that they are not a special elect who know what ordinary police good sense cannot. I hope someone will tell Justice Catherine Bruce that her apparent high regard for our rights as citizens in a free society should not extend to making asses of good cops.
We may yet return to a violent time when it is up to us, and no one else, to do something about the drug dealers next door. Such was the world before the rise of professional police, in the nineteenth century, that great and much maligned institution of modern civilization.