No. 300, April 25, 1996
Morality squad squishesIn the aftermath of the Remington's raid, Metro police have changed the way the morality squad does business.
Gay City Councillor Kyle Rae says he was told at an Apr 3 meeting that from now on, organizations like the SIS (Special Investigation Services, the morality section) must alert local division commanders before similar operations.
Police chief David Boothby also reportedly indicated that businesses should be warned before a raid. "[Boothby said] the unit commander will call in the business owner and the business owner will be told: 'We think this is happening on your premises. We believe it to be a criminal activity and if it does not stop you will be charged,'" Rae says.
That wasn't what happened on Feb 19, when SIS officers stormed a gay strip joint -- without warning the bar and without informing 52 Division's before the operation.
Acting Inspector Mike Sale, who works with Boothby's office, says that warning local commanders before a raid is part of community-based policing.
"[These] are reasonable things and the chief expects that kind of reason to be more or less affected in the police division," he says.
"[That] is one of the alarm bells that rang when SIS was involved in this matter and 52 wasn't notified appropriately."
Sale, who wasn't at the meeting, also says he "thinks" that warning businesses is part of that. (Boothby wasn't available for comment.)
SIS head Inspector Paul Gottschalk says he is concerned that the changes could compromise investigations, but he agreed to switch.
It hasn't been done partly because that's how SIS had always operated, he says. "But now the unit commanders are charged with being more responsive to the community and how can he or she do that when they don't know what is going on?"
"It's a reasonable thing to change. We're always changing and I welcome that," says Gottschalk.
Councillor Rae also welcomes the change. "I think it's another step toward convincing all ranks within Metro Police that community policing isn't just window dressing.
"[Community policing] isn't just about dealing with noisy neighbourhood residents' associations, but it is a full reworking of the way in which they do their business internally, as well as with the public. What we caught them out on was they had done their public relations but they hadn't done a good job of dealing with it internally," he adds.
"It's community policing in action and it's community policing at the most senior level, so I'm really pleased," says David Snoddy, chair of the February 19 Defence Committee.
"It reconfirms our understanding about where we have come from since [the bathhouse raids of] 1981."
The Feb 19 Defence Committee meets next at 7pm Tue, May 7 in committee room 6 at Toronto City Hall.
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Created: April 9, 1997|
Last modified: April 9, 1997
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