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11 Years, 10 Months, 29 Days Later – WPS Homicide Unit Equals Elusive Mark

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WPS Homicide Detectives Work Crime Scene – Photo JGJ

The WPS Homicide Unit achieved a milestone today that hasn’t been accomplished for almost 12 years – a 100% solvency rate.

In a press release today, the Winnipeg Police Service announced the arrest of an 18-year-old offender who has been charged with 2nd degree murder in the killing of Angela Marie Poorman (29).

Poorman’s case was the last unsolved homicide investigation from 2014.

On December 14, 2014 at approximately 6:30 a.m., police and EMS responded to the area of Selkirk Ave and Charles Street regarding the report of a stabbing.  On arrival, police located Poorman who was suffering from severe stab wounds.

Poorman was rushed to hospital in critical condition but later died from her injuries.

The investigation continued by members of the Homicide Unit.

Police say Poorman and her killer met during the early morning hours and subsequently became involved in an argument.  During the argument the suspect produced a large knife and stabbed her multiple times before fleeing the area.

Over the course of the next days, weeks, months and years, several police units assisted with the investigation.

Those units were identified as;

  • Uniform Patrol
  • Forensic Identification Unit
  • Counter Exploitation Unit
  • Major Crimes Unit

Police say the joint efforts of these units resulted in the resolution of the crime.

The accused killer was not named because he was a young offender at the time of the killing.

The alleged murderer has been remanded into custody.

100% Solvency Rate – An Elusive Achievement

WPS Forensic Investigator Seizes Clothing Item (Photo JGJ)
WPS Forensic Investigators Work Murder Scene (Photo JGJ)

Homicide Detectives are highly motivated to solve every single case they work.  Solvency rates are how they measure their performance.

These police officers tend to be extremely tenacious and determined people.

In case you weren’t aware, 100% solvency rates are not easy to achieve.

The last time the WPS Homicide Unit achieved a 100% solvency rate was in 2004 when Detectives cleared all 34 reported cases. (A record year for murders in the City of Winnipeg – at the time.)

Prior to that, the Unit scored perfect clearance rates in 2000 (17 – 17) and 1999 (14 – 14).

One hundred percent solvency rates have been more difficult to achieve with the proliferation of street gang violence, organized crime and drug trafficking networks.

Despite the difficulties the evolution of crime has created, homicide investigators in Winnipeg have achieved a remarkably high 90% solvency rate average over the last 16 – 17 years.

That kind of success is rare in almost any major metropolitan area, even more rare when you consider the WPS solves these crimes at a fraction of the cost and with less personnel and resources than other similar agencies.

2014 – The Year of Justifiable Homicides

In 2014, police investigated two cases that would be classified as justifiable homicides.

On April 19, 2014, a seventeen (17) year old male youth was stabbed to death by a thirty-eight (38) year old man. The investigation revealed the man stabbed the youth in self-defense after he was attacked during a strong-arm robbery.

On May 18, 2014, Marlon Dean Laronde (33) died from blunt force trauma after a forty-five (45) year old man assaulted him while intervening in a domestic dispute.

Both cases were reviewed by Justice Officials who determined the homicides were justifiable and that no reasonable likelihood of conviction existed in either case.

While such findings are not unprecedented, it is extremely rare that two such cases occurred in the same calendar year.

2014 – Violence Against Women – Domestic Violence

In 2014, violence against women (domestic violence) spiked.

A total of 10 women were killed in 2014 vs only 5 in 2013.

A total of 7 out of 10 of the women killed in 2014 were identified as Indigenous.

RCMP National Operational Review Report - Cover
RCMP National Operational Review Report – Cover

2014 – Police Indifference & The Murder of Indigenous Women

I’ve heard it many times, “Police don’t care when Indigenous women get murdered.”

I heard when I was a homicide investigator and I’ve heard it in my retirement.

“Police just don’t put the same degree of investigative effort into the murders of Indigenous women as they do for non-indigenous women.”

The urban myth is often reported in main stream media as fact without any scrutiny or close examination of the truth.

In 2014, WPS Homicide investigators solved the killings of every Indigenous woman who lost her life due to violence.

They also solved the killing of every Indigenous man, though fewer people may be moved by that fact.

The same can be said for 2004, 2000 and 1999 – every case of homicide involving an Indigenous person solved.

Remarkable.

The Inconvenient Truth

The high solvency numbers tend to undermine the urban myth but the facts don’t seem to get in the way of the activists and politicians who continue to perpetrate the false narrative.

Police agencies across Canada have been forewarned that they are in the #mmiw Inquiry crosshairs.

It seems the media may have already prejudged the findings;

“Governments and police have dispossessed, brutalized and treated them (Indigenous people) like property, or something subhuman,” writes CBC columnist Neil Macdonald.

He continues…

“So this is, to a large extent, a law enforcement matter, and a larger societal matter only in that police forces tend to enforce the status quo, which largely ignores Indigenous people.”  

The author goes on to mention the “blue wall” and how police aren’t generally, “Too keen on being investigated themselves.”

It’s clear, the deck is stacked.

I admit, not every case is solved, but I can assure you, that’s not because of a lack of effort or some form of racial indifference.

Most often, it’s because of a lack of evidence.

Nevertheless, police in Winnipeg, from the front line to the Detectives working those mind numbing excruciatingly long hours, can take solace with the knowledge that even the activists, politicians, media and Inquiry commissioners  will have a hard watering down the significance of their 100% solvency rates.

A commendable achievement.

I’m sure that inconvenient truth hurts.

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