Documents released to me by the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General include an email on the morning after the Stanley Cup riot from a senior RCMP officer, claiming there were 700 police officers from various agencies in downtown Vancouver on June 15, 2011. Read the story here. The email was sent to the British Columbia government’s deputy Solicitor General, to summarize the police operation on that horrible night.
This contradicts the official version contained in the provincial report by John Furlong and Doug Keefe (ghost-written by Stewart Muir), which said there were 446 police to start, but the numbers peaked at 928. The Vancouver Police review said 606 were VPD and 169 RCMP, most of the rest included 52 Abbotsford, 24 Delta, 20 each from New Westminster and the Transit Police, 16 Port Moody and 14 West Vancouver.
Asst. Comm. Craig Callens, author of the June 16, 2011 email to Clayton Pecknold, did not respond. Callens apparently forwarded my email query to communications officer Supt. Ray Bernoties, who distanced the RCMP from Callens’s math by claiming Callens didn’t include off-duty members or municipal cops. Bernoties also claimed Callens didn’t intend to be exact and that the numbers in the VPD report should prevail.
But I never got answers to simple questions from Bernoties. Such as, did he actually read the Callens email that I obtained? As you can see below, Callens carefully accounted for the municipal officers (even though the individual force numbers were redacted). He even went so far as to show how suburban RCMP detachments sent reinforcements to the municipalities that were short their own members because officers had been dispatched to the riot. People in senior positions, such as Callens, don’t make mistakes easily.
Other questions? What were the discrepancies (all figures, except for the total 700, were redacted)? How could a high ranking RCMP officer go wrong in such an important message to a top provincial official?
There is nothing in the Callens email to indicate his total of 700 officers was an estimate or inexact.
Is this a case of bad Mountie math or “move along, nothing to see here”?
I hope the Vancouver Police, RCMP and/or Solicitor General ministry will be transparent and publish a line-by-line list accounting for each and every set of “boots on the ground” to show exactly how many police were really on duty to quell the 2011 Stanley Cup riot.
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.