December 3rd, 2020

Police presence hindering LOPS, SACPA told


By Jensen, Randy on November 6, 2020.

Police and bylaw enforcement attend the unsanctioned overdose prevention site in September at Galt Gardens. Herald file photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

While still persevering in its attempts to operate an unsanctioned overdose prevention pop-up tent in Galt Gardens, Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society spokesperson Kaley Ann Boudoin admitted during her talk at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs on Thursday that the local police response has been severely hampering the group’s ability to offer its primary service: supervised injection and drug consumption.

“To put it quite bluntly, we can’t operate with the police standing there threatening people who are coming in,” she stated. “Regardless of what our legal team has advised on charges not being able to stick, the presence of police is still a deterrent and I would never want to encourage our clients to put themselves in that level of a vulnerable situation.”

Boudoin expressed her hope that eventually the group would be able to make headway and see a lessening of police presence so they can get on with providing the essential harm-reduction service they intended when first setting up their pop-up tent about six weeks ago.

“We’re not saying drugs are safe, that drugs should be done,” she said at one point in her SACPA presentation. “Harm reduction just acknowledges that drug use is happening, and there are real harms being done. And there are interventions that can be made along the way that can prevent or minimize those harms that are coming with drug use.”

Despite the contrary assessment of Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh, Boudoin once again reiterated that what the group was doing had its precedents in other communities in Canada, and that it was not illegal to offer a service which may save someone’s life.

“We are not able to operate successfully with the police presence there,” she acknowledged, “and we do plan on challenging the police on their assumption that our operations are illegal. But that is also a very lengthy process, and so in the meantime we would like to come to some understanding with the police.”

She said the group has also sought meetings with City officials to discuss potential accommodations and agreements for the LOPS tent, but has, so far, been unsuccessful in setting those up. In the meantime, the group continues to accrue regular fines from City bylaw officers after being denied a permit to operate in Galt Gardens.

“We do continue to receive tickets both for setting up the tent as well as for failure to remove the tent when directed,” Boudoin explained. “We do plan to contest these bylaws in court as there have been certain things along the way, and not everything has been above board on us receiving our tickets. We are being told it is because of our tent structure, and yet the bylaw for setting up a tent is exempted for rescue personnel. I don’t know what you would call overdose response but rescue personnel.”

Boudoin also said the group is met almost nightly by protesters opposed to their operations, who continue to try to threaten and intimidate both LOPS volunteers and their clients in the park.

“The police do stand by and allow a significant amount of verbal abuse from protesters as well as interference and destruction of our property on the grounds we don’t have lawful enjoyment of the park,” she explained. “That being said, I can’t really say what would happen if the police weren’t there – if protesters would be more emboldened to act harshly. What I do know is there was one night where the police hadn’t shown up, and we had set up, and the protesters ended up calling the police there anyway.”

While facing opposition, obstacles and various barriers, Boudoin said her volunteers remain committed to helping save lives in Lethbridge by preventing overdoses in a year where Alberta has seen record highs in overdose deaths, and 22 people have died in the city over the first six months of 2020.

“At the end of the day,” she said, “dead people don’t recover. So harm reduction tries to keep people alive and healthy long enough for recovery to happen.”

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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ewingbt

When people do illegal activities they should expect police to be there! They are lucky they have not received the over $20,000 in fines that should have been levied for their illegal tent.
What part of iilegal do you not understand!! Health Canada states it is illegal and LPS needs to stop the criminal activity.
The Alberta government states it is illegal and LPS needs to act and charge them.
The citizens of this city sent a loud and clear message to the Alberta government they DO NOT want this tent or an SCS in our city!
For every life you say these tents save, 10 more die that were attracted to drugs from you enabling them!
You call the people protesters, you accuse them of being ‘yellow vests’ and white supremists and abusive . . . well they are angry citizens that for the most part have had your tent set up in THEIR neighbourhood, where their families are. You use disinformation (  false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth ), a method used by the old SCS to gain more funding by inflating the number of users, and now in every way you can, not matter the cost to gain support.
At some point this spreading of disinformation needs to be held accountable and will come back at you. The SCS detroyed the reputation of this city internationally with inflated stats and everyone that sat outside the “party palace” watching the ‘gong-show’ knew there was no way in hell that there were 800 people using the consumption rooms per day or even 300! The best guess was about 150 -200 for those of us that watched and in March AHS proved that by only counting 130 per day while the SCS figures were 800 in February.
Some of the same people from the SCS are not operating this illegal tent and once again spreading vicious disinformation against people that are there to protest their parks, neighbourhoods and families!
We have been raped and pillaged in the last 3 years and we have had enough. If you have to lie to start up an operation, than it will never succeed.
This is an illegal tent set up for criminal acts to be committed and you should all be charged and thrown in jail . . . this is our city and we are tired of this!
Insite was the first injection site to open in North America in Vancouver DTES in 2003. They have pumped billions of dollars into the greater Vancouver DTES, a population of about 20,000, since then and for the last few years, $360 million per year into aver 300 social service and housing programs.
It has not worked because 1,000 have died as it spread throughout BC like a cancer! Every year there is a rise in numbers of: fatal overdoses, addicts, crime, homeless.
It is a failure!
You state numbers from the summer when the SCS was still open to spread fear into the public! You can’t fool us . . . by supplying a place for drug addicts to illegally use drugs you are committing criminal acts!
To note . . . your own book on how to set up an illegal tent even states that!
You are criminals, committing criminal acts in our local parks and if you don’t get why the people that live there are mad as hell, then you have done so many bad drugs, that you no longer have a brain left to think with!
Your day of reckoning is coming, and because you think spreading disinformation helps your cause, the push is now on to have the employees who destroyed this city’s reputation internationally by inflating stats released by the SCS, to be charged or brought into the courts to pay for their crimes.
Too many false accusations by the LOPS have been made and you missed the fact that your staff also assaulted the protesters! Your edited videos do not tell the whole story!
We do not need you and we do not want you in this city! The legally operated and professionally manned mobile consumption site is adequate and have the connectoins the addicts need for treatment, that IS available and help to get them out of the perpetual killing spree these sites have started here. The number of addicts and fatal overdosed rose after the SCS opened.
The numbers of people using on the streets incereased after the SCS opened! Proof, just like in BC, these sites do not work and increase the numbers of addicts by enabling them!
You will not be allowed to operate this tent in this city and if you think the few people that you see each night are all there is that are mad as hell . . . you really have brain damage!!!
Go home to your own cities and destroy them, kill the people there and leave us to properly get these people off the streets and let them be allowed to live a life of being at peace while being sober!

jonbacc

Kaley: “I don’t know what you would call overdose response but rescue personnel.”

Leave “rescue personnel” to our trained and certified EMS staff!! You don’t like concerned citizens showing up to ‘police’ the City, yet you think it’s fine to be the City’s ‘paramedics’?!

““In the meantime, the group continues to accrue regular fines from City bylaw officers after being denied a permit to operate in Galt Gardens.””

Kaley: “We do continue to receive tickets both for setting up the tent as well as for failure to remove the tent when directed,” Boudoin explained. “We do plan to contest these bylaws in court”

You’re almost as insane as the “former” President of the US still thinking he won this week’s election.

Perhaps I should now start to drive 50 km/h over the speed limit simply saying I’ll just contest my numerous tickets in court… no, my vehicle will rightly get taken away from me!

Side note: each Noloxone kit costs us (provincial taxpayers) $300

Seth Anthony

The LOPS pop up tent Go Fund Me Page states, “…the Alberta government’s irresponsible decision to close the Lethbridge Supervised Consumption Site”.

It’s telling that there is no mention of why it was “closed”, nor any mention of the new scs run by Alberta Health Services. Furthermore, the term “closed” is inaccurate. Theoretically and legally, arches could still have run an scs on donations and volunteering.

The complaints against the scs were vast. However, most of the complaints were not so much about the concept of scs’s, but rather how it was being run by arches. I’ve yet to see even one complaint about the new scs run by AHS.

In regards to the tent, there are two important facts:

1) Most of the donations are not from Lethbridge residents.

2) Most of the donations occurred within about the first week of setting up the Go Fund Me page. Relatively speaking, the donations have dwindled to almost nothing since the initial surge.

Those two facts are also “telling”.

Last edited 26 days ago by Seth Anthony


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