Monthly Archives: April 2012


Legalized Drugs: Dumber Than You May Think

Author | John P. Walters Even smart people make mistakes​—​sometimes surprisingly large ones. A current example is drug legalization, which way too many smart people consider a good idea. They offer three bad arguments. First, they contend, “the drug war has failed”​—​despite years of effort we have been unable to reduce the drug problem. Actually, as imperfect as surveys may be, they present overwhelming evidence that the drug problem is growing smaller and has fallen in response to known, effective measures. Americans use illegal drugs at substantially lower rates than when systematic measurement began in 1979​—​down almost 40 percent. Marijuana use is down by almost half since its peak in the late 1970s, and cocaine use is down by 80 percent since its peak in the mid-1980s. Serious challenges with crack, meth, and prescription drug abuse have not changed the broad overall trend: Drug use has declined for the last 40 years, as has drug crime. The decades of decline coincide with tougher laws, popular disapproval of drug use, and powerful demand reduction measures such as drug treatment in the criminal justice system and drug testing. The drop also tracks successful attacks on supply​—​as in the reduction of cocaine production in Colombia and the […]


Odd Squad’s On Track – Press Release

For Immediate Release            (Vancouver, BC) – Empowering youth to become role models for their peers and mentors for the younger generations to come- the motto for the Odd Squad Productions Society’s (OSP) annual peer mentoring workshop. On Saturday, April 28, 2012, forty Grade 10 students nominated across the Lower Mainland will engage in this one-day interactive workshop with volunteer officers from the Vancouver Police Department and Odd Squad Productions Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to prevention education for youth. An exceptional learning program, ON TRACK exposes participants to the harsh realities of drug use, addiction, and criminal lifestyle through interactions with police officers and street-entrenched people. Youth walk away educated with lifelong lessons that enable them to mentor their peers through school presentations about the realities they have learned. Agenda Saturday, April 28th 2012 from 10 AM – 10 PM: Interactive workshop at the new VPD Tactical Training Centre in downtown Vancouver Welcome by VPD Chief Jim Chu Morning presentations dedicated to gang and drug awareness by expert squad members Afternoon interaction with emergency response (ERT), dog squad training, and Marine Squad boat rides Late afternoon participation in a VPD Judo Club class Evening walk-about escorted by beat […]


Cocaine new drug of choice of Coast youth

CHRISTINE WOOD/STAFF WRITER             IMAGE: Vancouver police officers and Odd Squad founding members Sgt. Toby Hinton and Sgt. Mark Steinkampf (back) stand with Sunshine Coast Youth Crime Prevention Program co-ordinator Charlene Smith after the April 19 Odd Squad presentation for parents in Sechelt. Smoking pot has become as common as smoking cigarettes among Coast youth who are now turning to cocaine to get high. “Cocaine’s number one. Then there’s ecstasy, which is down-graded (due to the PMMA scare). We do see hallucinogens, and pot is something just everybody does. It’s like cigarettes here,” said Youth Crime Prevention Program co-ordinator Charlene Smith during an Odd Squad presentation in Sechelt last week. “Other than that there are the odd people who use mushrooms, there’s acid, ketamine and every once in a while you do see crystal meth and crack cocaine.” The smorgasbord of hard drugs available to Coast youth was a surprise to many in attendance at the April 19 Odd Squad presentation for parents at the Seaside Centre. “As crazy as it seems, your kids and everybody else’s kids are getting approached with drugs and alcohol maybe not on a daily basis, but on a weekly […]


2012 ODD SQUAD Gala Fundraiser

We’re back on the beat as we prepare to go beyond the call of duty and celebrate 15 years ODD SQUAD style! A gourmet sit-down dinner, spirited Live Auction, unique Silent Auction and many magical surprises are in store for our guests.Your support of the annual Gala Fundraiser allows Odd Squad to continue funding outstanding educational presentations, peer mentoring workshops and documentaries for use in schools and communities. As a trusted resource and leader in prevention education Odd Squad empowers young people to learn the true value in making positive life choices. With more funding we can achieve more impact in reaching youth on the pitfalls of drug use and criminal behaviour. For 2012 make Odd Squad a smart investment to help keep kids on track. Join us this year as a Guest, Sponsor, Auction Item Donor or Volunteer & make a difference with our youth! The 2012 Odd Squad Gala Fundraiser is on Thursday, June 7th in the West Ballroom at the stunning Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre, 1055 Canada Place. A cocktail reception begins at 5:00 followed by the Dinner and Program at 6:30pm. Tickets are $225 each or $2250 for a table of 10. For sponsorship information please visit our […]


Happy to be proven wrong

Posted by Eastside Stories: Diary of a Vancouver Beat Cop “Tap, Tap, Tap.” I jolted up, and nearly spilled a half cup of lukewarm Tim Horton’s double-double into my lap. They train you at the police academy to always be alert when you’re on the street. They call it keeping your head on a swivel. If your head’s on a swivel, you’re always on the look-out for the guy on the corner doing a quick drug deal. You’ve always got an eye out for the guy trying door handles, or for the guy up the street who just did the one-eighty because he has a warrant. Most importantly, if your head’s on a swivel, you’re always looking out for dangerous situations, like someone who may want to sneak up from behind and hurt you. Or, in this case, for a 95-pound waif tapping your patrol car window with the point of her umbrella. “What happened?” she asked, pointing her umbrella toward the ribbon of yellow police tape strung up across the entrance to the south lane of the 1oo East Hastings. I’d been parked there for the past hour and a half, making sure nobody got past the tape. It’s a […]


The Odd Squad comes to town

Non-profit group started by the Vancouver police visits schools to talk drugs and gangs by Katherine Hudson Northern News Services Students at Samuel Hearne Secondary School might not have thought there were any similarities between their small community of 3,400 and Vancouver’s Downtown East Side of 18,000 people, but after hearing from Odd Squad Productions members who visited their school last week, they figured the two places are a bit more alike than they realized. The non-profit group was started in 1997 by seven officers of the Vancouver Police Department and its mandate is to educate the public about crime prevention and community policing. In Inuvik, it made the message clear to a gym full of youth that in the end, there are only two choices, right and wrong. Const. Brian Hobbs said he went for a ride-along with the Inuvik RCMP detachment and saw some familiar sights. “They have the same problems here. They showed me where the crack houses are, they showed me where the bootleggers are, talked to me about the drugs and the alcohol that’s smuggled in, talked about the violence that goes on. I saw the violence that goes on in domestic situations. You guys […]


A Special Adventure with the Odd Squad (Guest Post)

A little while back, a few of our McMath students had an opportunity to explore a part Vancouver rarely seen by most.  Though a perhaps a little unsettling for some, our students were in good company.  Having an opportunity to explore the Downtown Eastside along side our school Liaison Officer as well as VPD Officer and Odd Squad Member, Brian Hobbes (a former McMath student), the group had a first hand experience that they will never forget. Vanessa Lee, grade twelve student, shares her experience below: On Mar. 8th, 2012, I along with 6 other McMath students had the rare opportunity to travel with the Odd Squad Policing Program to learn and experience what life is like living in Vancouver’s iconic Downtown East Side. From the very start of the 8 hour field trip, each student had a different thought on what the night would present them with. When we arrived at the Odd Squad Headquarters, we were shown a video, both about the struggles of drug users, but also those with success stories. Next, we viewed a 90 slide Powerpoint presentation outlining the numerous substances, drugs and weapons found and confiscated by the Vancouver Police everyday along the streets […]


The Perils of Searching

Police work is dangerous business, but sometimes the most dangerous situations come not when we’re chasing bad guys, but after they’ve already been caught. And in the Downtown Eastside, where infectious diseases like HIV and HEP C are epidemic, police officers must always be on high alert for dirty needles, broken crack pipes and anything else that could cause us harm. I snapped this picture earlier this week in Chinatown after I found a man in a lane injecting morphine. Turns out he had a warrant, and before sending him to jail my partner and I had to search all of his belongings. Among dozens of used and unused needles, he had knives, crack pipes and other drug paraphernelia. It took a good 15 minutes to dump the stuff on the hood of our car and sort through it, all the while making sure we didn’t get poked or scratched. The picture below is of the purse belonging to a woman we caught smoking crack earlier tonight on the sidewalk near Hastings and Columbia Streets. It was literally overflowing with needles, crack pipes and other paraphernalia. The orange packages are unused needles, which are handed out en masse throughout the […]


FIXING FOR INSPIRATION: “TEARS FOR APRIL”

“On Track celebrates youth making healthy lifestyle choices, by empowering them with the information and experience necessary to further their positive leadership roles within their community.” – Odd Squad Productions Last night I watched attended the exclusive screening of “Tears for April,” at SFU, documentary directed and produced by Odd Squad Productions Society. This film goes “Beyond the Blue Lens” and chronicles the short, tragic life of April Lynne Reoch as told by the beat cops team, retired Sgt.Al Aresanult, Sgt. Toby Hinton, and Sgt. Mark Steinkampf. A fresh faced 17 year old April warned about the life on the streets on the DTES. April, who had a child at a very young age and lost her mother when she was very young started experimenting with drugs early on. “I never thought it would lead to me being an addict,” April mentions in the film, and repeatedly speaks of how she wants to get clean for her young son, for her father and Danny (her significant other) and to see what is out there for her to learn, to be and to discover. The hard facts are that drugs and addiction is a demonist cycle that many fall victim to. This film destroys […]