Baffling, cunning and confusing addictive thinking ruins lives.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cop conjures up the smell and taste of misery

Blogging cop conjures up the smell and taste of misery - The Globe and Mail:

Constable Steve Addison, who works in the Downtown Eastside with the Vancouver Police Department, has written since September in his blog, Eastside Stories: Diary of a Vancouver Beat Cop.

Constable Addison was a newspaper reporter, but turned to policing about five years ago. “I was 25 and didn’t want to go to city council meetings for the next 40 years,” he says.

He records unflinching accounts on the blog, from the woman who, “on a good night,” will sell her body to 10 different men to make enough money to get high, to the young man with three degrees who is addicted to heroin and sells drugs to support his habit.

His goal, he says, is to give readers a “front-line, unfiltered” look at life in the Downtown East-side. Authenticity is what drives his blog, he says.

He started the blog because he wanted to help those outside the Downtown Eastside better understand the community he’s worked in for the past 4½ years.  The stories are meant as cautionary tales too, with teachers and parents telling him they use the blog to teach kids about drugs and addiction.

His posts, which range from frustrated accounts of what he sees as failures in the system to light-hearted portrayals of the characters he meets, are surprisingly personal.

Although Constable Addison has the force’s support for the blog, which bears the official VPD logo on its top banner, he said his posts are not vetted. Still, he’s aware that he’s representing the Vancouver Police. Certain things – cases before the courts or details about investigations – he won’t write about.

The initial idea for the blog came from Constable Addison, although it is now a part of the VPD’s overall social media and community outreach strategy. After the Stanley Cup riot in June, the force took to social media not only to identify rioters, but also to relay information such as Skytrain closings. The force is also active on YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter.

Diary is not the first VPD blog. Constable Sandra Glendinning has been writing about being part of the dog squad in Behind the Blue Line since 2008. Constable Jana McGuinness, a VPD spokeswoman, said these blogs help give the force a face to the public.

And people are paying attention. The diary blog gets an average of 15,000 hits a month, and dozens of comments each post.

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 8:44PM EST