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Recognizing youth leadership

Posted in Question – Serving Whistler & Pemberton – Original Link Click Here Dear Editor, On May 4, the Interact Club of Pemberton (the youth branch of Rotary) hosted the Odd Squad at Pemberton Secondary School for both Pemberton and Mount Currie schools. The presentations were a stark reminder of the deep and painful impact substance abuse can have on individuals, families and communities. Bringing the Odd Squad to Pemberton was an Interact initiative and they worked hard to make it happen. On behalf of the Winds of Change steering committee, I would like to acknowledge the Pemberton Interact Club for taking a leadership role in increasing the awareness of addictions among their peers. Your efforts remind us all that leadership to improve community health and wellbeing can come from many different places. Thank you! Sheldon Tetreault Chair, Winds of Change Steering Committee PEMBERTON


Actively empowering youth

On the cover this week … Odd Squad Productions Society celebrates 15 years. MICHELLE DODEK On Thursday, June 7, at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Odd Squad Productions Society will bring together nearly 1,000 attendees to celebrate 15 years of working to keep youth safe and drug free. Founded in 1997 by a group of seven officers working for the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), the organization has a mission of “empowering youth to make positive life choices about drug use and criminal behavior through documentaries and education.” The seven officers who first came together all those years ago felt that they needed to do something to try to prevent and curtail the cycle of substance abuse and tragedy they saw every day in their work on DTES streets. With VPD statistics indicating that 60 percent of illicit drug users were between 15 to 24 years of age, these seven officers decided to focus their efforts on proactively protecting youth. They called their group the Odd Squad. The Odd Squad’s first step was to take footage of what they saw on the streets of the DTES, footage they turned into a documentary called Through a Blue Lens, […]


Odd Squad Productions Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

For Immediate Release                                                                            (Vancouver, BC) –Vancouver’s Odd Squad Productions Society (OSP) celebrates a memorable 15th milestone of empowering youth though film documentaries and educational programs. The prestigious 2012 Odd Squad Gala Fundraiser is taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Thursday, June 7th starting at 5:00 pm. Presented by CIBC Wood Gundy At Bentall, and supported by an astounding 50 corporate sponsors, the evening begins with a cocktail reception and Mayor Gregor Robertson in attendance. Other highlights include speeches by select youth, a unique Silent Auction, a formal sit-down dinner, a Live Auction with celebrated auctioneer Howard Blank and special guest Steven Seagal. Vancouver’s Odds, with Craig Northy as musical director, will serve as the house band. 100% of the proceeds will be put towards creating more documentaries and developing awareness campaigns for youth about the dangers of drug use and criminal behaviour. Undoubtedly, the OSP is passionate about their work. This grassroots initiative started with a few Vancouver Police Officers who […]


The Harsh Reality of Drug Use in Vancouver: A Presentation by Laura, Gr. 10

Laura, Gr. 10, just completed an interactive training session with Odd Squad Productions ON TRACK peer to peer program. Laura had the chance to train with VPD officers and hear real-life stories from drug addicts on the street. On May 2, 2012 she talked to students & staff about the realities of drug use in Vancouver: Click here to WATCH the video presentation


Members of Jewish Community Working Diligently At Keeping Kids Safe and Drug Free

Original Newsletter – Click Here Odd Squad Productions Society Celebrates 15 years with a Gala Fundraiser Vancouver’s Odd Squad Productions Society (OSP) is proud to announce the celebration of its 15th anniversary this year. Odd Squad Productions Society (OSP) is an independent, non-profit organization that was founded by volunteer members of the Vancouver Police Department in 1997. Having developed a unique approach to community policing, crime prevention and public education, Odd Squad generates funding through donations and grants with the mission of “empowering youth to make positive life choices about drug use and criminal behaviour through documentaries and education”. A prestigious Gala Fundraiser will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Thursday, June 7th at 5:00 pm . Under the leadership of Gerry Zipursky, the C.O.O. of Odd Squad, a number of prominent members of our community have rallied around the cause. Serving on the Board of Directors is Shirley Barnett, Howard Blank, Bob Golden and Mark James, with Dani Elias as Director, Web Development and new Media. There are, as well, many Jewish corporate Sponsors for this Annual fundraiser. With disturbing statistics, such as “60% of illicit drug users are between 15 to 24 years old”, there is […]


…but instead…

Posted on May 1, 2012 by Steve The following is a contribution by fellow Beat Enforcement Team member Tyler Urquhart, inspired by some of the people he’s met along Hastings Street. He says it’s “kind of a poem.” A Grandfather, Bouncing grandchildren on his knees. Burgers, ribs, the family barbecue, Stories of ‘how things used to be’, chasing girls, a classic car, old friend, Wisdom, command, always an unspoken respect for the Patriarch. … but instead … An old, worn-out man long past his due date. An addict, a recluse, full of delusion, full of disease. Erupting in anger and compulsive put-downs. Spare change? Spare change? Missing pieces…missing places… farther from human. Alone. Cursed. A young Mother, A shy toddler, spying, hooked on her leg. Coffee with old girlfriends. Other little ones mingle. She checks the time on her Iphone, Loving husband still at work, Family time soon, with talk of another little one on the way. … but instead … Soaked to the bone, crouched on wet cement in a nasty alleyway. Poison in her bra. Rock? Rock? Up? Down? There are no children back here. Waiting for her turn to fix. ‘Where’s my money bitch?’ The dealers’ had enough … she’s short again. […]


Police warn killing in Mexico may reignite B.C. gang strife

Jeff Nagel – Surrey North Delta Leader Published: April 30, 2012 11:00 AM Police are warning more retaliatory gang violence could break out here after the murder of a B.C. organized crime figure in Mexico. Thomas Gisby was shot point-blank Saturday in a Starbucks in Nuevo Vallarta by two gunmen who then fled. He had previously been the target of a Jan. 16 bombing in Whistler, where Gisby and another man camped in an RV escaped with minor injuries. RCMP quickly issued a warning that Gisby’s slaying could trigger revenge attacks or violence between his gangland allies and enemies in B.C. “We expect this would result in heightened tension between various organized crime groups in the Lower Mainland and, potentially, the province,” RCMP Sgt. Duncan Pound said. Gisby is said by police to have been a “high-ranking organized crime figure” who headed up his own B.C. gang – which they referred to as the Gisby Crime Group – but also had links to other B.C. groups involved in violent attacks in recent years. “The criminal activity in which he was engaged extended across Canada and internationally,” Pound said. There are reports the middle-aged Gisby may have had ties to Metro Vancouver’s Dhak and […]


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 […]


Work on The Beat Continues at OLN

OLN is in production on the second season of its original docu-soap series The Beat. Ten 10, 30-minute episodes were commissioned by OLN and are produced by Montreal-based Galafilm Inc. for airing this summer. The Beat II follows the intersecting stories of six police officers who patrol Vancouver’s roughest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside. “After the success of the first season, we’re pleased to bring The Beat back with 10 new stirring episodes,” Claire Freeland, Director of Original Programming, Rogers Media Broadcasting, said in a release. “With new issues impacting the streets of Vancouver, The Beat II will convey timely and relevant storylines that will resonate with Canadian viewers.” Galafilm founder Arnie Gelbart (18 to Life; War of 1812) serves as executive producer.  Claire Freeland is Director of Original Programming, Rogers Media Broadcasting, and Carol Commisso is Production Executive for Rogers Original Programming. Galafilm is a board member of the CMPA (Canadian Media Producers Association) as well as of the APFTQ (Association des producteurs de film et de television du Québec). See the original MediaCaster article by clicking here


Odd Squad brings truth about gangs to local 100 Mile House youth

Odd Squad Productions Const. Doug Spencer didn’t pull any punches when he told Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) students about his own experiences with youth whose lives were lost or otherwise destroyed by gang-related activities. Carole Rooney By Carole Rooney – 100 Mile House Free Press Published: March 21, 2012 8:00 AM Updated: March 21, 2012 9:44 AM Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) gymnasium was packed, but you could almost hear a pin drop when hundreds of students watched real-life scenarios and learned how to buffer themselves from the gang violence and drug abuse. In their recent presentation, off-duty police officers Const. Doug Spencer and Const. Dawn Richards didn’t sugar-coat the shocking impacts of gang violence and drug addiction on youth and their families. The constables are members of Odd Squad Productionswhich is a non-profit group of law-enforcement officers based in Vancouver. The film and slideshow depicts real experiences of young people in British Columbia, and many are tragic, even grisly, tales. However, others tell the success stories of those who rose above similar obstacles, and how they overcame them to lead happy, prosperous lives. After the presentation, Spencer said the program not only educates youth on these extremely important issues, it […]


Odd Squad to visit Tetlit’Zheh/Fort McPherson

Odd Squad to visit Tetlit’Zheh/Fort McPherson Members of the Odd Squad Productions Society, a nonprofit organization founded by Vancouver Police Department officers, will be meeting with students in Fort McPherson this month to discuss the dangers of drug addictions and gangs. They are scheduled to arrive in the community at 11 a.m. on March 27 and present at 1:30 p.m. A sporting event is also scheduled for 3:30 p.m. which is set to include members of the production team and students. The Odd Squad is also scheduled to make presentations in Ulukhaktok on March 26, Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik on March 28, and Inuvik on March 29 and 30. – Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison Link to Northern News Services Online – Click here