Rehabilitating Rollie Woods (I)
B.C.s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
might be building a positive media image
for this biased ex-cop while it hires
five more ex-cops just like him
March 12, 2010
There was Rollie Woods, all over TV and newspapers on March 10 and 11, announcing that the Crown has charged two Victoria police officers with assault. But the funny thing is, Woods has no connection with the case. Hes an investigative analyst with B.C.s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner but he didnt work on this file. Nor has he ever before acted as an OPCC spokesperson. Probably no one has, other than the police complaint commissioner and his deputy. Moreover this announcement should have come from the Crown, not the OPCC.
There just might be some significance to Woods sudden media appearance.
The OPCCs decision to hire Woods was egregious even by OPCC standards, very strongly suggesting cronyism and a commitment to biased work. Right about now the OPCC is set to hire, or has already hired, five more people. Theyll have the same duties as Woods to rubber-stamp police internal investigations whenever they can get away with it.
Quite likely theyll all be ex-cops, like almost everyone else at the OPCC. They might even be local ex-cops, like Woods, with lots of former colleagues and current buddies scattered throughout B.C.s tightly knit police community. The new staff might even have records every bit as bad as Woods.
The OPCC doesnt announce hiring decisions but reporters might dig up the information anyway. If they were to ask whether all those ex-cops are the best people to review police internal investigations, the OPCC might point to Woods.
Look, the OPCC could say, theres Rollie announcing that only 12 months ago we declined to rubber-stamp a police internal investigation. Surely that proves the system works. Surely that negates Rollies odious background with Vancouver police internal investigations. Surely that means we need five more ex-cops just like him.
Simple-minded? Sure, but no one ever accused these guys of intelligent public discourse.
Anyway, journalists almost never question the OPCC, its staff, its hiring policy or its decisions. They even consider deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce M. Brown a credible spokesperson. With only two exceptions (one of them really glaring), theyve given police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe a free ride despite his support for the Dziekanski death squad.
Woods March 10 interviews didnt come about by accident. People in that position get lots of preparation before they talk to the media. They normally get extensive one-on-one training from a long-time media pro. Then they get additional rehearsals for every interview.
Crown attorneys and the OPCC might have colluded to deflect criticism of the Crowns year-long delay (which seriously jeopardizes the prosecution) and spin the story to the OPCCs advantage.
Then the OPCC might have chosen Woods to handle the interviews to try to build a positive media image for him. That positive image could help rationalize the OPCCs policy of hiring ex-cops.
Of course all thats speculation. But here are some things to watch for:
Will the OPCC fill its five vacancies with more ex-cops? Will they come from B.C.s tightly knit police community? Will any of them have a background, like Woods, in conducting police cover-ups? (Click here to see how such a scenario might play out.)
Will the media care? This last question is vital because the media constitute our only hope for municipal police accountability. Both provincial political parties support the status quo. Outside the media, no one can call the OPCC to account. The OPCCs ex-cops show extreme complacency towards the public and answer to absolutely no one, not even the Ombudsperson.
B.C. journalists do take up individual cases of municipal police wrongdoing, and they do so vigorously. But, with very rare exceptions, the media dont question the OPCC, its staff, its hiring policy or its decisions.
Will that ever change? Maybe, just in case, the OPCC is getting ready to polish its image starting with Woods.
Read more about the Stan Lowe/Bruce Brown/Rollie Woods/OPCC cover-up
of VPD constable Taylor Robinson’s assault on a disabled woman
Rehabilitating Rollie Woods (II)
A media puff piece praises the latest corrupt ex-cop
to be named B.C.s deputy police complaint commissioner