Martin C. Barry
With Canada’s marijuana laws seemingly about to be relaxed and sales of the currently illicit substance possibly also about to go mainstream, a Laval Police constable told a public gathering of Chomedey residents last week that law enforcement professionals like him have almost given up the war on drugs.
Chomedey to Pont-Viau…
“Drugs, honestly – let’s talk realistically – it’s a war that we’re not going to win,” Laval police constable Jimmy Mourelatos told a meeting on Feb. 24 of around 20 residents who were invited to Centre du Sablon by Councillor Aglaia Revelakis to talk about neighbourhood security issues.
“Even when you focus on one group or in one sector, Chomedey,” continued Mourelatos, “all it does is it does is it switches – it’s going to go from Chomedey to Pont-Viau. And when you put concentration in Pont-Viau, it’s going to go to Duvernay. That’s all it does.
“Drugs is something that’s so big anywhere you go, whether it’s Laval or Montreal, it’s so big I mean trying to legalize it, that even the government itself sometimes must realize that it’s so out of control they’re trying to get a piece of the pie as well,” Mourelatos added during an interview with the Laval News following the meeting.
Only displacing the problem
“For us, we try to control it in our area, in Laval. In most cases what happens is it displaces. That’s all it does. And even with small, minor possession charges, we don’t want them: we want the big fish. So for us even when we catch the small ones, it’s more to start an investigation that leads us to the big one.”
This was on the same day that Liberal MP and former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair stated in Ottawa that Criminal Code provisions on marijuana must be upheld and enforced even as the government considers legalizing marijuana. Blair has been appointed by the Trudeau government to lead a federal-provincial task force to create a plan for the legalization of cannabis across the country.
“The laws that currently exist, exist in this country and we are a … nation of laws,” Blair said. “Quite frankly, until those laws are repealed by Parliament through the appropriate processes, they should be upheld, they should be obeyed.”
His views, not police force’s
Mourelatos admitted that the views he expressed were his personally and not a reflection of the Laval Police Department’s overall drug enforcement strategy. “We’re never going to give up,” he said. “Even if it’s a war that we think we’re not going to win, we’ll never give up. Ever. We’re always going to be there.”
Mourelatos was responding to comments and complaints from some at the meeting that the Laval Police don’t always seem to respond to calls from residents reporting unusual activity in their neighbourhood. Mourelatos, who was at the meeting along with the Laval Police’s Lieutenant Jean-François Girard, insisted that all calls are in fact taken seriously.
“Even if it’s nothing, they’re going to come and identify them,” he said of the importance of reporting any suspicious occurrences so that the police can at least develop a portrait of activity in an area and build a data base of information containing the names, descriptions and addresses of potential suspects. “That’s how it works – you are there for us. We have to work together. We need you to call us.”
Youths loitering in cars
Another complaint came from longtime Chomedey resident Constantine ‘Gus’ Milonopoulos who said he noticed a lot of drivers lately who drive right through stop signs on thoroughfares like 100th Ave. as well as Souvenir, Normandie and Elisabeth boulevards. He said he also noticed a good number of people lately who spend hours parked while inside their cars near his home.
Mourelatos explained the latter phenomenon as “kids who are looking for places to park” when the municipal parks are closed for the winter “and they want to be together.” Still, he acknowledged, “you always have to be vigilant, right. You never know. But personally I can tell you from experience it’s just kids looking for a quiet street for them to park and have a cigarette or even have a joint.”
RevelakisMeeting1: Drugs “it’s a war that we’re not going to win,” says Laval Police constable Jimmy Mourelatos.
RevelakisMeeting2: Seen here with Chomedey city councillor Aglaia Revelakis (far left) Laval Police Lieutenant Jean-François Girard and Cst. Jimmy Mourelatos provided residents with information on security in their neighbourhood during a meeting at Centre du Sablon on Feb. 20.