In reviewing the article Cops Run Amok in a recent addition of the National Post, I thought it may be helpful to include some facts that may have been lost in the way the story was reported.
This was not a traffic stop, it was a drug arrest. Impaired driving alerted the officer to the danger the driver posed to public safety and marijuana smoke billowing from the car made the cause of that impairment obvious. In order to make the arrest, force became necessary when the person refused to exit the vehicle, which is understandable since he allegedly knew what would be found in his car if he did.
Our officer acted proactively when he saw a car weaving that could at any minute strike another car or pedestrian causing injury or worse. The video shows that the driver was evasive and lying about not having drugs in the car. In fact, there was enough marijuana for Crown Counsel to accept a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking. While it was necessary to use some force to extract the driver, it is also important to remember that no one was injured and no complaint was made.
Patrol officers know that every arrest they make and practically every move they make will be scrutinized, analyzed and occasionally criticized. Through it all they routinely prove that preserving life and public safety trumps whatever slings and arrows they may endure.
It would be ideal if force of any kind was never necessary to make an arrest. But for those who are trying desperately to avoid apprehension, it is not always the option they choose.
Chief Constable Jim Chu
Vancouver Police Department