Odds and Ends


THE BEAT Season 2 Premiere this Sunday!

Season 2 Premieres Sunday July 29 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT Back for a much anticipated second season, THE BEAT, produced by Montreal based Galafilm Production, delivers the same gritty, high-octane action as it did the first time around.  Over 10 riveting episodes, the show follows the Vancouver Police Department’s Beat Enforcement Team, as they patrol the city’s Downtown Eastside— a hotbed of drug abuse, prostitution, mental illness and violent crime.  Maintaining order in a place like this is no small task.  It takes tireless work, and a ready supply of courage and compassion.  Luckily, the men and women of the BET are up to the challenge. The Beat delivers in-your-face confrontations as the B.E.T. patrols, serves, and protects the city’s downtown eastside community – a hotbed of drug abuse, prostitution, mental illness, and violent crime.  Maintaining order will not be easy, and to do so takes tireless work with a ready supply of courage and compassion.  Is the B.E.T up to the challenge? Led by 20-year veteran Sgt. Toby Hinton and adrenaline junkie Sgt. Mark Steinkampf, The Beat follows the intersecting stories of six police officers who live for the street.  The squad includes Const. Hobbs, a third generation police officer […]


Eastside Stories: Diary of a Vancouver Beat Cop – ‘She made her decision, and it was the wrong one’

Posted by Steve Five days past her 18th birthday, she was hooting on a crack pipe near the corner of Hastings and Columbia. She tossed the glass pipe to the pavement as we approached and tried to blend in with the crowd. “Please don’t arrest me,” the pretty redhead pleaded as I grabbed her arm to prevent her from running away. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I just want to talk to you.” My god, she looked young. Dressed in jean shorts and a button-up shirt that was tied in a knot just above the belly button, she looked like she should have been riding a tire swing at the family cottage, not getting high on Hastings Street. Though her hair was unwashed and her face was breaking out in sores, I could tell she was still early in her suffering. The addiction hadn’t fully taken control of her. I wanted to help her. We talked as I ran the girl’s name through the police database. Her story reminded me that addiction does not discriminate between race, gender or class. The product of a tony West Vancouver neighbourhood, she began experimenting with hallucinogens — magic mushrooms and LSD — at age 15. […]


Odd Squad out to make a difference

Toby Hinton a 23-year veteran of VPD VANCOUVER COURIER Sgt. Toby Hinton, a beat cop on the Downtown Eastside and 23-year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department, has seen firsthand the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol. He works in an overwhelmingly negative environment. But with unprecedented access to tragic life stories, Hinton was determined to do something positive to educate at-risk groups of the dangers of substance abuse and other criminal behaviour. He, along with six other officers founded Odd Squad Productions, a volunteer band of police officers who produce movies to keep kids clean and off the street. The non-profit group, which recently marked its 15th anniversary, has produced more than 15 documentaries telling real stories of the pitfalls of drug abuse, gangs and other high-risk behaviour. Through a Blue Lens-perhaps their most notable documentary that was produced in partnership with the National Film Board-has been viewed by millions in 22 countries. Scathed & Stolen Lives and Tears for April have both received accolades at the New York Film Festival. The squad also makes presentations to schools, community centres and boardrooms. The group has also enlisted high school students to spread the word. Its On Track program takes […]


Odd Squad Productions celebrates 15th anniversary in style

By Kelly Marion Photos by Kelly J Marion –> @kellyjean247 Odd Squad Productions (OSP) held their 15th Annual Fundraiser Gala this month and sold out at over 1000 guests. The Vancouver Convention Centre was overflowing with black ties and evening gowns, with everyone looking chic as they perused the silent auction and sipped on a glass of wine. The large support was shown through people of all ages, social statuses and races including many from the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). What began as a community of volunteer police offers determined to beat work on the East side of Vancouver in 1997, is now an organization at the forefront as a highly regarded resource directed at prevention education and awareness for youth. They began using the scare tactic with the debut of their award-winning “Through a Blue Lens” production. Take a moment to watch the film and you’ll understand the effect it can have. Since then, they have grown to incorporate many educational videos and peer-to-peer programs in an effort to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. After a walk down the red carpet with the VPD lining each side, the night unfolded in to an evening of entertainment, education and eating. There was a special marine […]


Hudec ‘humbled’ by tour of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Calgary’s Jan Hudec made his Olympic debut in Vancouver  in 2010, but this week he came here for a completely different experience. And it left  him feeling humbled and grateful for the opportunities he has as a full-time athlete. Hudec, 30, toured the Downtown Eastside Wednesday night through a program run by Odd Squad Production Society, a non-profit organization established by retired and current Vancouver police officers to educate and empower youth (I spoke with Odd Squad and wrote about this project in Wednesday’s The Province). Hudec along with national team speedskaters Jamie Gregg, Christine Nesbitt, Cindy Klassen and Brittany Schussler spent several hours talking to homeless people and those suffering from addictions. They shared their life stories and talked about how they ended up where they are today. “We talked about where they came from, what things were like growing up,” Hudec said in a release from Alpine Canada. “We asked some pretty direct questions, like whether they even wanted to get clean. It was interesting. “One of the answers I came away with was that sometimes people get into situations that they don’t think they can get out of any more.” Hudec also has a story to tell. With […]