Vancouver Police Department Chief Constable Chief Chu looked for all the world like Captain Renault (“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here”) while announcing that 15 male members of his department had been discovered circulating pornographic files on their office computers.  Chu was quick to point out that the material was “not illegal”.  Vancouver Police Union President Tom Stamatakis soon weighed in, attempting to downplay the scandal by comparing the sleazy material to stuff routinely on display in the daily newspaper.

Let’s first take a harder look at these statements:  Who is making the determination that the content was legal?  Why, the police themselves…might they have a vested interest in clearing their own senior officers?  If the porn was actually no worse than what is found in the newspaper, why not produce all of it immediately for public, independent inspection to determine whether crimes were actually committed?

With that out of the way, this matter raises much bigger issues.  There obviously continues to be a pervasive culture within this police force that considers it acceptable to harbour sexist and misogynistic attitudes while at the same time falsely assuring the public that those anachronistic beliefs were rooted out long ago.  Make no mistake about it, VPD management would have covered up this unseemly matter and kept it under wraps had diligent blogger Alex Tsakumis not exposed it two days ago.  That’s not news either, but the public deserves much, much better.

Round up the usual suspects.