Gun registry not working: Police Chief Rick Hanson
Police Chief Rick Hanson.
Updated: Mon Apr. 26 2010 17:34:48
Police Chief Rick Hanson says it's time to review the federal gun registry, even though most of his colleagues support keeping it.
"The gun registry has done little to make the streets safer," said Police Chief Rick Hanson.
Calgary is known for its gang wars that have played out on city streets.
Shootouts have left a bloody trail of murder and violence.
The police gang unit says handguns are the weapon of choice for Calgary gangs.
But there has also been an increase in the use of heavier weapons like assault rifles, which can penetrate body armour and vehicles.
Chief Hanson is one of the first chiefs in the country to say publicly that the gun registry isn't working.
"For the years it's been in effect, there are more guns on the street today - handguns and prohibited weapons - than I can ever recall, and that's since the gun registry has been implemented," added Chief Hanson.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police support the registry.
They claim it's used 11-thousand times every single day.
But in Calgary, officers use the registry as an investigative tool and say it doesn't work when dealing with gangs and drug dealers.
Chief Hanson says the gun registry does nothing to reduce the level of violent crime and the use of guns by criminals on the street. He says it's not about politics, it's about safety.
"It's not helping. The guns these people have, they don't register, they don't care, they're probably stolen, they're probably obtained illegally, in many cases they're prohibited," commented Chief Hanson.
Chief Hanson wants tougher sentences when someone is convicted of using a weapon to commit a crime.
He also wants more search and seizure power when police have reasonable grounds to suspect someone may be in possession of an illegal gun.
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Platteville cop charged with 'regularly' smoking crack
A Platteville police officer who allegedly smoked crack cocaine while on duty was charged in federal court Tuesday with keeping a drug house.
Michelle V. Salentine, 28, who has been with the department since 2004, appeared in U.S. District Court and was ordered held in jail until a detention hearing, to be set at a later date.
Salentine remained in the Dane County Jail Tuesday night. Platteville Police Chief Doug McKinley declined to comment on the case.
According to a complaint and affidavit filed in federal court, Salentine was arrested on Monday after she arrived for a night patrol shift. She admitted to authorities, the affidavit states, that she had been smoking crack four to six times a week for about a year, and that she and another person who lives with her occasionally drove to Milwaukee to buy crack.
According to the affidavit, a confidential informant who has a drug-related criminal history told the FBI on Feb. 8 that Salentine regularly smokes crack at her home on Hathaway Street in Platteville and at another address in Platteville, including occasions when she was in uniform as a Platteville police officer.
In a text message to a law enforcement officer on March 2, the informant wrote that Salentine "came by around 12 a.m. in her squad, took her gun off, left it on the bed and sat in the kitchen," the affidavit states.
Two days later, an officer received another text message from the informant about 1:35 a.m. saying that Salentine was smoking crack there and in her squad car and was getting ready to go back on duty. The informant, wearing a recording device, was also with Salentine at the officer's home while she smoked crack on April 14, according to the affidavit.
FBI agents executed a search warrant at Salentine's home on Monday, where they found marijuana and crack cocaine paraphernalia.
Another person who was interviewed during the investigation told the FBI that she sold crack cocaine to Salentine about 20 times since October and saw Salentine smoke it many times before going on duty. She said she has also seen Salentine use powder cocaine and smoke marijuana, the affidavit states.
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