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There is a police chief in a place called Kawartha Lakes Ontario, that needs to be removed from his position for his blatant abuse of his position and authority or at the very least, forced to apologize for his comments and conduct.

Police Chief John Hagarty has used his personal feelings twice now, to put the squeeze on the Sir Sam Hughes Branch 67 of the Royal Canadian Legion when it comes to people who wear motorcycle gear marching in Remembrance Day Parades, something he thinks is disrespectful.

Here is a video from Last year on the topic:
video

The chief's words are: The Remembrance Day parade is a very respectful, sacred, in my opinion, parade, honouring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and it is just inappropriate to water that down to a level where you are wearing black leather chaps and motorcycle insignia, walking down the main street of any town in Canada.

That was last year....

The video from this year:
http://Toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1040911&playlistId=1.1536560&binId=1.815892&playlistPageNum=1

According to the CTV piece above,  the police chief stands by his comments of last year and has nothing further to add.

Now on the Legion side of this issue, I personally, would have told the chief he could take his ultimatum of "Them or Me" and walked right out the door.
But because this man is so highly thought of in their community the Legion is afraid of the reprisal from the non riding community of Kawartha Lakes.

And I can understand their position

This chief is: 

Highly decorated:
http://kawarthalakesmums.blogspot.ca/2013/05/congratulations-chief-hagarty.html

Well thought of:
https://www.facebook.com/OACPOfficial/posts/202974846478124

He is vocal and socially connected on twitter, Facebook etc:
City and Police Chief nominated for PeterTweeter Awards — City of ...

When this man says something people listen

But he's obviously also something else - he's either an egotist who is hung up on his own reputation and OR he's human and has biases.

The difference between you and I, Joe Q Citizen and this Police Chief - he chose to take an oath to serve and protect and to live by a code of conduct that holds him to a higher standard than the average citizen.  

He is not allowed to use his uniform or his position to influence the decisions of others in this way.

He is entitled to his personal feelings but he cannot let those feelings dictate how he is to conduct himself when representing the police force in a public parade.  He should suck it up, and keep his mouth shut and march right alongside whomever else is there to show support.

His personal feelings on attire have no place here whatsoever.

He is NOT THE FASHION POLICE nor is he THE MORAL AUTHORITY.

Remember...The chief's words are: The Remembrance Day parade is a very respectful, sacred, in my opinion, parade, honouring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and it is just inappropriate to water that down to a level where you are wearing black leather chaps and motorcycle insignia, walking down the main street of any town in Canada.

If this situation is TRULY about clothing and physical appearance, then this chief has crossed a boundary that he may well live to regret. It shows his true bias.

If this is truly about his PERSONAL opinion then he should be removed from his position or at the very least be forced to man up, own up and apologize to all involved.

According to his comments on twitter today, the 4 members of the Kawartha Charity Riders who are  Veterans themselves were told they could march. (https://twitter.com/jhagarty)



From all accounts that I have been made privy to no one from the Kawartha Charity Riders was told they could march in the parade.  But, even if what the chief claims is 100% the truth, something still doesn't ring true.

In the CTV interview from this year - the part with the Legion President, he said he felt stuck in the middle - so - something doesn't jive here.  And the discussions I had with all of the players last year, Mayor McGee, City Councillor and Chair of the Police Services Board, Mr. James, the past president of the Legion and Rick Gibson, everyone save Chief Hagarty who refused my interview request, support the original comments made by the chief in his own words in the first video.

The words he says he stands by in the 2013 CTV video.

He never denied issuing the ultimatum to the Legion. The Legion was fine with the participation of the Kawartha Charity Riders until the Chief issued his ultimatum - so really...I have a hard time believing that what the chief says in the above twitter discussion is 100% on the level.

What he said in 2012:
The Remembrance Day parade is a very respectful, sacred, in my opinion, parade honouring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and it is just inappropriate to water that down to a level where you are wearing a black leather chaps and a motorcycle insignia, walking down the main street of any town in Canada.

To Now:
Not true, every Charity Rider Veteran was welcome to march, they knew that regardless of what was said to the media.

You decide which version of what he has to say is the truth.
Or how much truth lay in both statements.

I'll be sending Rick Gibson a message to see if I can verify the claims that the chief makes, but I still ask this question....

I am a member of CAV. I am a Veteran Supporter Member - I am a PM Q brat, my parents served.
Does his statement mean that because I am not a veteran, I cannot participate in a March with my unit on Remembrance Day because I wear biker garb and am only a civilian?

If this situation is about something other than clothing then this Police Chief needs to come clean about it.

If this is about "you served or you didn't serve", again that comes down to his personal opinion.
The Legion is widely comprised of supporters not just veterans or serving members so his argument holds no water there either.

If it's really about clothing and his personal opinion then he needs to apologize or resign or be reprimanded or something.  The police have a term they use for people who use their membership in something to persuade you to make the right decision...what is it....Intimidation?

Well, it is intimidating for an organization called the Legion to have their police chief, a man who is highly regarded, threaten to pull his support of a Remembrance Day Parade because he doesn't like the way bikers dress.  He didn't say the force wouldn't attend just that he wouldn't attend.

That in and of itself speaks of how personal this issue is to this man and that he let his emotions cloud his judgement.

As far as the Royal Canadian Legion goes, I sent Dominion Command an Email about the newly formed riding club, the Canadian Legion Riders and asked the question, does the Legion not have to stand for its own? If the Police Chief refused to march because members of the RCL are bikers, what would the Legion be expected to do.

At the end of the day a lot of people here have made mis-steps in handling this situation, but Chief Hagarty over stepped his bounds and put people in the position to make a mistake in the first place.

If he had done his civic duty properly, he would have never put the Legion in the position of choosing - once he did, the Legion should have told the Chief, we'll miss you.

In the meantime I have lodged a formal complaint against the chief.
I have written letters to the Mayor and all of the major players in this sad affair.
AND
I have started a petition to force the mayor and the council of the City of Kawartha Lakes to deal with this issue.

I am doing all I know to effect change. I need your voice added to mine - there is strength in numbers and I ask that if you feel this chief has crossed a line, then please sign my petition.

So let's recap...

If the participation of the Kawartha Charity Riders in the Parade of 2011 was OK and was in fact welcomed from all accounts by the Legion, and it was not until after the Chief threatened to pull his personal support, that their participation was no longer welcomed, then the Chief clearly intimidated the Legion, made them feel to be put in the middle and concerned for their organizations reputation in the eyes of the rest of the Kawartha Lakes community; by using his position and standing in the community for leverage to gain the decision he sought from the Legion.

What he said in 2012:
The Remembrance Day parade is a very respectful, sacred, in my opinion, parade honouring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and it is just inappropriate to water that down to a level where you are wearing a black leather chaps and a motorcycle insignia, walking down the main street of any town in Canada. 

Bottom line, end of story he crossed a line.

If there are other facts that surface later that change things then I'll be happy to re-evaluate my stance, but until that happens, it is my firm belief , from everything I have read and researched that this man has crossed a line that is discriminatory and directed solely at the motorcycle community.  And his actions are contrary to the Charter of Rights & Freedoms where in we are guaranteed our right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. I also believe that he has contravened the code of conduct for the Ontario Police.

Until we have all of the facts, all of the answers and apologies are issued, I won't let this rest.

If what I have presented makes sense to you; if like me, you have concerns about the conduct of this police chief, then I ask you to please read and consider signing my petition.



Petition by iPetition
Please make sure you use first and last name when signing the petition or we just have to remove the signatures.  Anonymous, nick names and one name only all have to be trashed or it ruins the integrity of the petition. I have enough work to do so please, both names or don't bother signing and costing me time I don't have.


THIS JUST IN FROM THE POLICE CHIEF'S BLOG:

Let me explain how we got to this point. Remembrance Day 2010 as we formed up at the Legion, for the first time a number of “Bikers” lined up as well, and I was surprised to see them stay and walk along in the parade, I thought was very unusual and maybe a onetime thing, but they returned in 2011. That year a few of them walked up to us as we stood in formation taking head shots (pictures) of our officers. This is a practice of criminal biker gangs to develop an inventory of officer’s pictures for intimidation and intelligence purposes. Many of my officers complained to me and asked “why are they allowed to march?” I wondered too, as I felt the parade portion of the ceremony was limited to the group I have mentioned (occasionally elected officials join in), for me the march is a visual reminder of the men and women that marched off to war. I explained to the Legion that in my opinion that it was inappropriate for them to walk in the march and that if this continued I would attend the ceremony but not march.

He ends his post with: Many may still not agree with my opinions, but I reserve the right to express them, it is that freedom that our Soldiers fought, and continue to fight for. End Quote


Oh so now we bring in Criminal Bike Gangs as they like to call them - really....

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

Post a Comment

  1. I think the "chief" needs to be sent back for retraining... If he cannot tell the difference between charity riders and outlaw gang members then I don't think he is qualified to hold his present position.

    Don James, London Ont.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the "chief" needs to be sent for retraining. If he cannot tell the difference between charity riders and outlaw bikers than I don't really think he is qualified to hold his present position. AND, you are in a frikken parade, of course people are going to take your pictures.

    ReplyDelete

 
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