SFU criminologist slams John Furlong and Doug Keefe’s “confused” riot report

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      SFU’s top criminologist has blasted the John Furlong-Doug Keefe report on the Stanley Cup riot as “a confused collection of thoughts and ideas and recommendations”.

      Professor and ex-cop Robert Gordon, a staunch advocate for regional policing, told the Straight in a phone interview that he finds it “absolutely inexcusable” that the authors of The Night the City Became a Stadium didn’t make a recommendation relating to the creation of a single metropolitan police service in the Greater Vancouver area.

      “I found that the level of analysis on that particular issue is extraordinarily shallow,” Gordon said today (September 2). “They obviously do not realize, and I suspect this is a function of the speed with which this came out, they do not realize that they were actually making a case for a single metro police service in all the criticisms that they mustered of policing. And also in the independent technical review report, which is an appendix to the Furlong-Keefe report that doesn’t specifically mention the regional policing issue, but it sets a litany of errors that would not have occurred had there been regional police service, a single police service responsible for this particular event.”

      These errors include communication breakdowns, and the fact that the RCMP tactical team and the Vancouver Police Department have been trained differently and were not following the same tactics and policies and procedures.

      “There is no excuse in my view for them not doing that, especially since I met with them, along with a couple of other people to talk specifically about this issue of metro policing,” the director of SFU’s school of criminology said about Furlong and Keefe. “They obviously had made up their mind by the time I got to them. This wasn’t going to be an issue.”

      In the report, Furlong and Keefe wrote: “Some have told us that the riot could have been avoided had there been a single regional police service for the region. An interesting point but we don’t think the facts bear it out.”

      They also stated: “We also suspect that the debate that would ensue from a recommendation for regionalization of policing services would eclipse proper consideration of this report and the implementation of any required changes.”

      Gordon made special mention of Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

      “I’m certain that Furlong does not understand it,” Gordon said. “He views and viewed the whole thing through the Olympic lens where he saw all these police officers warmly embracing each other and managing that event without difficulty. He just doesn’t...I don’t think he understood what it was that I and others were talking about. It was probably our fault.”

      In June this year, Gordon told the Straight that it would be “extraordinarily foolish” if the review of the riot doesn’t come up with a recommendation to amalgamate police forces in Metro Vancouver.


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      Mark Fornataro

      Sep 2, 2011 at 1:43pm

      Regional policing just seems to be common sense in terms of everybody working efficiently together and avoiding the cost of duplication of administrative staff. And re: the cost of this report -oh well, what's another $200,000 of taxpayer's money. Easy come, easy go.

      5 7Rating: -2


      Sep 2, 2011 at 2:01pm

      My Fav a Special Riot Court...

      U know for the two "Riots" since 94...about 17 years...

      What will they use the Riot court for in between riots? Storage?

      6 10Rating: -4

      Bill McCreery1

      Sep 2, 2011 at 2:50pm

      It's clear the Gregor's Riot report authors did not want to step into the "political" aspects of this issue. A regional police force, while something that needs a closer look, is a political matter. The report certainly does provide a multitude of reasons which support the creation of such a force.

      Similarly the Report's authors stayed out of the blame game, at least at the political level. Some have concluded, based on some of the criticisms in the Report that the VPD are at fault. That is not correct. The police generally did an admirable job within the context of this unnecessary catastrophe.

      This riot need not have happened at all. The blame is squarely on the shoulders of Mayor Robertson and his Vision Council. The Mayor encouraged people to come downtown when the Mayor of Boston did the opposite. The mayor of Boston closed off access to his downtown, ours did nothing. The mayor of Boston refused to allow the final game to watched in their arena, ours expanded the venue down Georgia and along Granville. Mayor Robertson did not insist his staff in all departments convince him with more than assurances that their plans were adequate. He should have, that's what someone in his position must do to properly carry out his responsibilities.

      Mayor Robertson, the buck stops at your desk. You wear this, no one else. When are you going to come out from under your desk and take responsibility?

      7 11Rating: -4


      Sep 2, 2011 at 11:25pm

      We already have a provincial police force: RCMP.

      Another made in BC regional police force will likely be as efficient as our outstanding regional transit. No thanks.

      10 7Rating: +3

      A Nony Mouse

      Sep 2, 2011 at 11:29pm

      Bill McCreery, it must be frustrating that your efforts to get yourself elected on the back of a riot, rather than on your own lamentable and pointless contributions to civic discourse in our city, seem to have failed at the first hurdle. Still and all, it was as good a run as you deserve.

      5 3Rating: +2

      ex-Haney guy

      Sep 3, 2011 at 10:29am

      Hey, what about the Canucks organization?
      They wanted the promotion, the hype,the beer sales;
      it was their "company" that got all the attention-it was
      'good (for)buisness. They take no responsibility?
      -even as that BC traitor David Suzuki says, "even death
      ups our GDP"; so I guess this was just 'buisness' -the
      real religion of the 21st Century

      5 11Rating: -6


      Sep 3, 2011 at 6:13pm

      Robertson is the one who built the woodpile downtown, the rioters just threw the match. If we clamour for the rioters to be held accountable, why not the bozo who set the stage for it to happen?

      6 9Rating: -3