Everyone wants to know why the RCMP were ordered to take this action just in High River and not in any of the other thirty communities where states of emergency were declared during the flood

Pray the RCMP don’t look after your town in a State of Emergency

By —— Bio and Archives--April 1, 2014

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How would you feel if the RCMP kicked in your front door, searched your home, spreading mud from one end to the other and seized your private property, all without a warrant?  The following story is from just one home of more than 1,900 homes that had their doors kicked in by the RCMP in High River, Alberta during eight days last summer.

On June 20, 2013 flood waters started lapping at the door of Jane and Don White’s home in High River.  At 9 pm a town employee informed them of that the town was being evacuated.  The flood waters hit their home at 11:30 pm.  They didn’t have much time to prepare their home and belongings for the deluge to come before they moved to higher ground.  Don was able to safely relocate his eleven trigger-locked long guns from the basement to his upstairs bedroom and hid his handgun collection to a safe spot where no one could find them - not even the police.  They left their home and everything they owned so fast, they even forgot to take Jane’s heart monitor - her life line to the Foothills Hospital in Calgary.  The Whites then went to stay with family members in Okotoks.

They registered with the 1-800 number provided to all High River residents and reported to the RCMP that they were safely out of their High River home.  Don even informed RCMP Constable Trevor Currie about the firearms in his home two days before the RCMP kicked the White’s front door.  He even asked Constable Currie to inform his colleagues manning the High River Detachment office.

Despite all the White’s precautions and notifications to officials including the RCMP, on June 24th the RCMP went directly from the High River Detachment to the White’s home, kicked in the front door, searched the home, seized his eleven trigger-locked long-guns (safely stored in accordance with federal firearms regulations) and were back in the detachment with Don’s guns in fifty-one minutes.  This was documented in a copy of handwritten notes made by RCMP Constable J.C. (Jason) Decoste of the Lloydminster Detachment.

RCMP’s action was clearly not a door-to-door search for survivors, this was a very direct and targeted search for guns

The time line in the RCMP Constable’s notes state: “18:50 Back in the water. 19:00 Door-Locked, Entry-Hard, Res.-Searched, 11 firearms located (the notes list eleven long-guns complete with makes, models and serial numbers) 19:17 All firearms seized placed in boat, 19:35 secured into 3B155 to be transported to detachment, 19:41 Secured High River Detachment secure bay.” Open this link for full text.

This document alone proves the RCMP’s action was clearly not a door-to-door search for survivors, this was a very direct and targeted search for guns.  Despite, a thorough search of the White’s home which got mud on the White’s mattress, makeup table, closet doors and jewellery, etc, the RCMP were unable to locate Don White’s handgun collection.

When the Whites learned that the water around their home was only a few inches deep they asked the RCMP if they could go back in their home to retrieve Jane’s heart monitor - the RCMP refused.  When Jane went to go through the barricades an unnamed RCMP officer grabbed her, twisted her arm and told her she was under arrest.  The RCMP even refused Jane’s request for the officer to enter their home and get her heart monitor for her.  The RCMP didn’t follow through with Jane’s arrest.

On July 16th the Whites were allowed to return to their home for just fifteen minutes replacing the destroyed front door with a piece of plywood.  A few days later their house declared unfit for human habitation and they were once again forced to stay out of their home until Alberta Health finally removed the declaration in the middle of September.  Only then were the White’s able to permanently return to their home to start the real clean up.

Having secured their home again, Don White went to the RCMP detachment in High River to pick up his long guns, where the RCMP officer informed him that that two of his long-guns weren’t registered.  Don responded, “That’s right, the two new shotguns we just bought!”  The only possible way the RCMP Constable knew that two of his long-guns weren’t registered is if he had access to a copy of the old long-gun registry listing of their guns - a listing that was supposed to be completely destroyed in accordance with an Act of Parliament, Bill C-19, Ending of the Long-gun Registry Act, proclaimed into law on April 12, 2012.

RCMP committed the criminal offence of break and enter and searched the White’s home for guns - not survivors!

The smashed front door was replaced by plywood for several months and Don and Jane finally received compensation for their door in December.  Many other High River residents are still waiting for compensation for the damage done to their homes. As if money can ever make up for this gross violation of their human rights by the very people we all trust to uphold our rights.  Some of Don’s seized firearms were damaged when the RCMP threw them into a National Defence dinghy and he still hasn’t been compensated for these damages.  While the RCMP were searching the White’s home for guns, they left a trail of dirty, oily, feces laden mud throughout the house.  The Whites have yet to be compensated for the cleanup.

The RCMP claim they were searching for survivors, but when they kicked in Don and Jane’s front door, the High River RCMP Detachment had already been informed that the Whites were safe and sound.  The RCMP committed the criminal offence of break and enter and searched the White’s home for guns - not survivors!  They need to be held fully to account for their actions.

As we write this, everyone is waiting for the results of the investigation currently underway by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.  More than one thousand, nine hundred High River homes had their doors kicked in (many doors that weren’t even locked), houses ransacked and soiled, hundreds of firearms seized and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition destroyed. 

Everyone wants to know why the RCMP were ordered to take this action just in High River and not in any of the other thirty communities where states of emergency were declared during the flood.  Everyone wants to know why the RCMP lied to the media and the public about why they seized guns in High River and no other town.  The 1,900+ break-ins, searches and seizures occurred over an eight day period, and everyone wants to know why the RCMP didn’t have a warrant for their actions - they certainly had enough time to ask a judge for a warrant.

RCMP responses to Access to Information Act requests state that there were 273 RCMP officers and 330 National Defence personnel deployed in High River during the evacuation.  That’s a lot of witnesses who actually saw what happened, know why it happened and helped make it happen.  Only a federal judicial enquiry can get to the bottom of this mess.

Pray that your community never has to declare a state of emergency and you are forced to evacuate leaving your home in the care of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  You could be the next Jane and Don White.

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Dennis R. Young -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dennis Young retired to Airdrie, Alberta in 2007 after working for 13 years on Parliament Hill for Garry Breitkreuz, MP for Yorkton-Melville. Dennis is a member of the Calgary RCMP Veterans Association and a Honourary Life Member of both the Canadian Shooting Sports Association and the National Firearms Association. For his 20-year crusade for the rights of firearms owners, Dennis received the NFA’s David A. Tomlinson Memorial Award for 2014 and the CSSA’s John Holdstock Memorial Award for 2014.

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