Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Lasso of Truth

The box office success of Wonder Woman reminded me of the connection between her creator, William Marston, and the lie detector which reminded me that I’ve never received an answer from the Cape Breton Regional Police as to what sort of work their two “polygraph technicians” perform.

By strange coincidence, as I was preparing to send yet another email to the CBRP’s communications department, the answer popped up in CBRP Chief Peter McIsaac’s report to the board of police commissioners this week.

In an exhaustive recounting of everything his 200+ officers accomplished between February 1 and May 31 (sample items, “Celebrated Police Week with a colouring contest,” “Attended/participated in/at: Tim Horton’s Camp Day, Youth Talking Circle, community funerals, Neighbourhood Watch meetings, Family Living Pancake Breakfast, Health Management Committee meeting,” “Identified 6 footwear impressions, 2 palm impressions and 8 fingerprint impressions”) I found this under, “Polygraph Unit”:

Assisted members of Major Crime, General Investigative Section, Arson Investigator and Patrols with several investigations, conducting Polygraph tests, taking statements and conducting interviews, and advising on interview strategy and technique.

So use of the polygraph is alive and well in the CBRM even though, as I wrote earlier this year, polygraph evidence hasn’t been admissable in Canadian courts since 1987.


Over the transom

Fairmount Hotel, 857 East Commerce Street, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX (US Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons)

Fairmount Hotel, 857 East Commerce Street, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX (US Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons)

I received a batch of documents in a brown paper envelope this week and thought I had hit the jackpot when I saw what looked like typed minutes from in-camera CBRM council meetings but which turned out to be eight pages of pretty funny (if libelous) satire of the mayor and council and even yours truly (accused of being ready to “print anything” certain councilors say).

The Hercule Poirot in me perked up and started looking for clues to the author’s identity but the handwriting on the envelope was unfamiliar, there was no return address and the stamp had no postmark.

The only clue was that in eight pages of closely printed dialog, in which the mayor and every single councilor came under fire repeatedly, one councilor did not get mentioned at all.

Not once.

Clearly, that councilor wrote the transcripts!

(Did I mention the Hercule Poirot in me is not a particularly sharp Hercule Poirot?)

My next step will be to send the envelope to the CBRP and have it tested for fingerprints. And footwear impressions.



Behold this July 2016 briefing note for PMJT, extolling Liberal govt's firm commitment to transparency and access-to-info reform (Dean Beeby via Twitter)

“Behold this July 2016 briefing note for PMJT, extolling Liberal govt’s firm commitment to transparency and access-to-info reform” (Dean Beeby via Twitter)

This week, I wrote about reforms to Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) Act proposed by the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) in 2013 but I forgot the one closest to my own heart:

The FOIPOP should also be extended to cover private bodies that perform public functions or receive public funding, to the extent of that funding or function. Non-governmental organisations, for example, that have accepted a grant to produce a report should be required to be open about how that public money was spent.

Call it the “Business Cape Breton” clause. Or the “Cape Breton Partnership” clause. Or the “Destination Cape Breton Association” clause. It would apply to all these organizations and more and it would be most welcome. (I mean, by me, not necessarily by the people at those organizations).


Lime Pillows & Little Green Friends

While researching my pot legalization story, I ran across a Washington Post article by Chris Ingraham about the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) lexicon of American drug slang. Writes Ingraham:

It’s meant to help law enforcement officials know the difference between Purple Haze (pot) and Purple Rain (PCP), or Scooby Snacks (MDMA) and Kibbles & Bits (Ritalin).

A number of comments on the article poured cold water on the DEA’s efforts:

Nobody uses these names…Except the DEA and the writers for Dragnet.

These are all law enforcement terms.

(That last comment really cracked me up — I can see some of the terms being figments of law enforcement officers’ imagination but all of them? That suggests part of a DEA agent’s day is spent making up names for street drugs that no one on the street will understand which seems, I don’t know, counterproductive?)

Marijuana, as you can imagine, has a long and varied list of aliases (including the two in the title of this item) but what really struck me was the nicknames for fentanyl which range from lighthearted (“Fenty,” “Friend”) to dark (“Toe Tag Dope”) to utterly inexplicable (“Facebook,” which supposedly means fentanyl “mixed with heroin in pill form and which, come to think of it, does sound like something made up by a law enforcement officer.)

I wonder if there is a lexicon of Canadian drug slang and if so, how much of it references the menu at Tim Hortons?


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