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.