2012-02-09 17:45 PST
Dear Osoyoos Times Editor,
I read your article wherein you discuss that, after having consumed beer at a local pub, you were stopped by a police officer and humiliated by having to comply with the officers lawful request to do a roadside test to ensure you were not impaired. You go on to say he harassed and intimidated you and "abused his position of authority". Your allegations are very serious and certainly cast the officer, who you name nine times in your article, and the RCMP in a very negative light.
As the Editor of a local newspaper, your readers must feel it important to know that when you report something in your paper, it is factual. I imagine your credibility and that of the Osoyoos Times relies heavily on that.
Well sir, I'm very pleased to report that there is a video of this incident. The video was taken from the police car and includes audio of the entire interaction between you and the police officer. I have just watched the video and observed a very calm and professional member of the RCMP doing his job. The RCMP has proudly served the people of Osoyoos for a very long time and I fear your one sided article could adversely, and incorrectly, impact their view of their local RCMP. Thus, I suggest that we post this video on-line so the good people of Osoyoos and others can make their own determination of what occurred. This is the type of transparency British Columbians expect from the RCMP.
Alternatively, I would be willing to drive to Osoyoos, at my own expense and on my own time, to show the people of Osoyoos this video. Perhaps we could capitalize on this opportunity by publicly discussing the important issue of impaired driving. As a new resident in Osoyoos, you may be interested to know that the RCMP has conducted extensive community consultation and traffic safety, including impaired driving, has been raised as a serious concern. I think the residents would be pleased to learn that their police are working hard to ensure that no lives are lost due to impaired driving. The residents of Osoyoos will also learn that this particular police officer carries a photo in his duty bag of a young girl who was killed by an impaired driver. This police officer, who you so freely defame using your position, also has extensive training and experience with impaired driving investigations. He has, no doubt, saved many lives by taking drunk drivers off the road using the exact same lawful means as the night he stopped you.
Perhaps, before slandering an Osoyoos resident and member of the local RCMP, you'll do some research just as the member suggested to you during the stop. In this case, it may have included reading the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Ladouceur (1990).
Admittedly, I am not a regular reader of the Osoyoos Times but if I was I would be troubled by the seeming motivation of an article written by the new Editor of my local paper. Allow me to quote you from the video sir. I am the editor of the newspaper and you will see the powers that I have.
If there was one positive to your negative article, it was a reminder to me of the many baseless and malicious allegations our members must constantly face while carrying out their duties. Fortunately, in this case, the video removes any doubt that the police officer's actions were professional and respectful.
I look forward to a retraction or correction and to, potentially, facilitating the public's viewing of this video.
Supt Ray Bernoties
Officer in Charge
BC RCMP Communications