As 2019 drew to a close, Delta Police Chief Constable Neil Dubord took the time to sit down with the North Delta Reporter to reflect on the successes — and challenges — of 2019, and to give a glimpse of what’s ahead for the Delta Police Department in 2020.
Where crime is concerned, Dubord noted there were three major successes in three different areas for the Delta Police Department: organized crime, criminal investigation and patrol.
In February, the DPD arrested three people associated with the Brother’s Keepers gang, seizing weapons and “a significant quantity of drugs.”
The DPD, with the RCMP’s emergency response team and members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit’s uniformed gang enforcement team, executed a search warrant at a Surrey residence that had been the target of a drug trafficking investigation involving the Brother’s Keepers.
Police found a loaded firearm, a replica restricted firearm and two bullet proof vests, as well as a significant quantity of suspected heroin and cocaine packaged for sale and a suspected bulk quantity of fentanyl.
Three people inside the residence — two women and a man — were arrested without incident and later released, pending charge approval by Crown Counsel.
“To infiltrate a gang is pretty great work by our drug detectives,” Dubord said, noting the arrests highlight the inherent dangers and violence associated with drug trafficking.
Also in February, Delta resident Manoj George was arrested after allegedly attacking a woman outside Immaculate Conception School in North Delta.
Acting Sgt. John Jasmins, who was picking up his children from school, instructed his children to call 9-1-1 and intervened in the assault, tackling the man and receiving several stab wounds to the abdomen in the process. The woman was also stabbed several times.
“Investigators believe that if John hadn’t acted so quickly, the woman involved in this incident could have lost her life. He is a hero,” Dubord said at the time.
George was arrested at the scene and later charged with 10 counts stemming from the investigation, including attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, sexual assault with a weapon, extortion, unlawful confinement, choking to overcome resistance and uttering threats. The case continues to move ahead in court.
In September, Jasmins was awarded a Chief Constable Commendation, the DPD’s highest level of recognition, for “his act of exceptional courage exhibited while risking his personal safety,” and in November he was presented with the Award of Valour, B.C.’s highest police honour.
In November, a two-month investigation dubbed Project Screaming Eagle drew to an end with the the arrest of eight people and the seizure of crystal methamphetamine, cash and other evidence related to drug trafficking.
“This was absolutely good police work. There was a lot of disturbance in the neighbourhood potentially coming from one house,” Dubord said, adding that crime dropped in the area after the arrests.
“Business owners in the area were coming from their businesses to thank the police officers conducting the warrant for their work.”
Fentanyl and the opioid crisis continue to be a focus for the DPD, Dubord said, as well as the challenges in addressing impaired driving issues related to the legalization of marijuana and edible cannabis.
“We continue to see drugs as a major problem — roadside technology is coming, but likely not until 2021-2022,” he said.
The ability of DPD officers to carry naloxone has helped in relation to fentanyl-related incidents. Across the province, the numbers of fentanyl overdoses have either stabilized or gone down, but Dubord said DPD officers remain vigilant.
In March, the DPD released the results of a public survey which showed that traffic flow and safety continues to be a top concern for Delta residents, with visibility of police presence in the community coming in second.
The third highest concern was property crime, which currents statistics show continuing on a downward trend. Residential break-and-enters dropping significantly to just 38 for all of July, August and September, compared to 55 in 2018.
Commercial break-and-enters were also down significantly in the third quarter of 2018, from 44 to 25, while thefts from auto also trended downward, with 168 compared to 179 at the same time last year.
Traffic-wise, there were four fatal collisions in Delta in 2019. Added roving counterattacks resulted in 479 impaired roadside prohibitions, 65 standard field sobriety test and drug-related investigations, and 255 excessive speed violation tickets.
Persons offences — which include crimes such as assault, sexual assault, arson and robbery — continue to increase, as well as cybercrime, Dubord noted.
Bend, Don’t Break
In late 2018, the department launched a podcast called Bend, Don’t Break, which shares the stories of first responders who have overcome significant adversity in their personal and professional lives. The program has been well-received and will continue in 2020.
“The health and wellness of our officers is extremely important to us — it’s a big priority internally,” Dubord said.
“Whether it’s a police-involved shooting or becoming addicted to opioids because of Crohn’s disease, they’re sharing extremely personal stories of life-altering situations and how they dealt with them.”
What’s ahead for 2020
Looking forward, the DPD will focus on attacking cybercrime in 2020, both ensuring the protection of the department’s systems and information, as well as ensuring they have their investigators properly trained to tackle the ongoing issue and educate the public.
“The best inoculation is making sure people are educated,” Dubord said, noting that both ends of the age spectrum — seniors and at-risk youth — can be targeted for scams, sexual exploitation or bullying.
The issue of drug-impaired driving — or detecting those who may be impaired by edible cannabis — will continue to be a focus in 2020, Dubord said, along with providing ongoing training for officers in line with new provincial standards.