Penticton's top cop responds to social media criticism - InfoNews

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Penticton's top cop responds to social media criticism

FILE PHOTO- Superintendent Ted De Jager says the negative social commentary against Penticton RCMP on Penticton social media sites is a one-sided story, as he is unable to respond to many comments because of a duty to protect the person making them.
July 11, 2019 - 1:35 PM

PENTICTON - If you are active in Penticton's social media scene, you might have noticed a sharp spike in personal attacks against the city's police chief or charges of disrespect or lack of action by police officers responding to calls for assistance.

Penticton RCMP detachment Superintendent Ted De Jager responded today to the steady stream of residents frustrated with petty crime and social issues related to the city’s homeless and addicted.

“It’s interesting, it’s a one-sided story. People will make a complaint to the media, to me, or to the mayor and council, or city staff, then I will be asked to comment. I can’t defend my members, because I have to protect the privacy of the member of the public who made the complaint,” De Jager said this morning, July 11, calling it ironic.

"People are free to say whatever they want on social media or wherever, facts don’t really need to be in the equation, they just say what they need to say. I have to go by facts and evidence. I don’t go by innuendo or social media comments,” De Jager said.

He said demands to load those sitting on the library lawn up on buses and ship them out of town aren’t viable solutions to the problem, nor was it something police do.

“Even if we could do that I think it would be a startling indictment on our society, that we would want to ship our problems somewhere else instead of dealing with them head on,” he said. "That’s what’s out there. I can’t really defend against that because I have to respect the privacy of the very people who are complaining about me and my members, and I will continue to do that.” 

Social media posts get particularly personal when they include unflattering photoshopped images of the police chief. 

“You can paste my head onto anybody’s body I don’t give a hoot, but it’s not solving anything," he said.

De Jager said he also realizes it’s a very small minority of people making the noise and a silent majority likely doesn't share many of those sentiments. His officers are recognized almost daily for their efforts as "members can’t go many places without someone offering to buy them a coffee or something.”

De Jager said efforts to get residents involved in citizens on patrol or block watch falls on deaf ears.

“There is lots of talk and keyboard strokes, but not many are joining up. People would rather talk about ‘game on', 'time to start hitting up all the crack heads' (as) if that’s what we want in this society is vigilante actions. I get that people are frustrated, I’m frustrated too,” he said. “We have an obligation to get all the information, and get it right before taking away the rights of a Canadian citizen, it doesn’t matter who that might be.... It takes a lot of effort to bring a file to court because there’s a high standard to meet, as there should be.”


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