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Burnaby Mountie welcomes newcomer women to Canada with a chat



Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Alexa Hodgins says talking to new immigrant and refugee women about policing in Canada is ‘refreshing’: ‘Sometimes forget how wonderful it is to live in Canada and to have our system.’

Alba Correa vividly remembers the first time she was pulled over by police after coming to Canada from Colombia.

“When he came to my window, I was shaking,” she told a group of women at Burnaby Neighbourhood House recently.

Police in Colombia could not be trusted, according to Correa, and she had no reason to believe police in Canada would be any different.

“The trauma keeps with you forever,” she told the NOW.

It turned out the officer had pulled her over because she had forgotten to turn on her headlights and it was dark out.

He sent her on her way without even a fine.

Correa’s feelings about the police aren’t uncommon among women coming to Canada from other countries, according to Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Alexa Hodgins, and that’s something she tries to address in a presentation aimed at newcomer women.

“Most of these women come from countries where police are untrustworthy, mostly men, abuse their authority and corrupt,” said told the NOW.

Hodgins was at Burnaby Neighbourhood House last month talking to a group of new immigrant and refugee women in the Bridges preschool program run by Correa, who also acted as translator.

Among the half dozen women were newcomers from Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico.

When Hodgins asked them what their experiences with police had been like in their home countries, there were laughs.

“In my country, the police is so bad, corrupt,” said one woman from Colombia.

Another woman from Colombia agreed. “You can’t trust police. They’re supposed to protect you, but you can’t trust them.” she said.

“When you see police, you get afraid,” said a woman from Peru.

A woman from Mexico said “it’s all about money” for police in her country. “It’s chaos,” she said.

A good bit of Hodgins’s presentation is aimed at convincing the women police in Canada can be trusted and are there to help.

She tells them police in Canada are held to a “very high standard,” and RCMP members are well trained and well paid, with good benefits and have fewer inducements to resort to corruption to make ends meet than their counterparts in developing countries.

She also touches on Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Part of Hodgins’s presentation involves her showing and explaining all the parts of her uniform: Kevlar vest, firearm, handcuffs, magazines, pepper spray, baton, tourniquet, etc.

“There’s so much mystery behind ‘Why do you have all that stuff and what is it for?’” Hodgins said. “Taking it out one by one and explaining it really breaks down that barrier and makes each piece less intimidating when you actually see it on someone.”

But most of the presentation flows in the direction set by the group, according to Hodgins. 

One topic that came up was kidnapping.

In some of the countries, kidnappings for ransom, especially of children, is common, and Hodgins explained kidnapping for ransom is extremely rare in Canada. 

Other questions the women asked included questions about the kinds of crime most prevalent in the neighbourhood and whether they should be worried if neighbours threaten to call police because their kids are being too noisy.

One topic Hodgins makes sure to cover is domestic abuse, pointing the women to online resources and stressing they shouldn’t hesitate to call police.

“A lot of these women are coming from countries where it was OK to do whatever you wanted with your wife, and there were no repercussions if it happened at home,” Hodgins said.

Hodgins has presented her talk a couple times now. Such presentations were put on hold because of COVID-19 restrictions.

 “It’s refreshing coming to these things because you sometimes forget how wonderful it is to live in Canada and to have our system because you just get used to it,” she said. “But when you talk to other people and they’re like ‘This is amazing,’ then you’re, like, ‘It is amazing.’”

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor




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China setting up overseas police stations, including one in US, to bring back 'fugitives' – WSET




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Third Williamsport educator accused of engaging in sexual activity with a student




WILLIAMSPORT – A former Williamsport Area High School teacher has been accused of having sexual contact with a student – the third educator associated with the school charged with sexual misconduct this year.

Michele Pulizzi, 52, a former English teacher at the school, was charged by state police Friday with criminal solicitation to have sexual contact with a student. She was released on $75,000 unsecured bail.

Search warrant affidavits obtained by PennLive in early September alleged Pulizzi “made out” with a male student in the school and they exchanged nude pictures and videos of themselves.

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Hack puts Latin American security agencies on edge




MEXICO CITY — A massive trove of emails from Mexico’s Defense Department is among electronic communications taken by a group of hackers from military and police agencies across several Latin American countries, Mexico’s president confirmed Friday.

The acknowledgement by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador comes after Chile’s government said last week that emails had been taken from its Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Mexican president spoke at his daily news conference following a local media report that the hack revealed previously unknown details about a health scare he had in January.

López Obrador downplayed the hack, saying that “there’s nothing that isn’t known.” He said the intrusion apparently occurred during a change of Defense Department systems.

But Chile was so concerned by the breach to its own systems that it called its defense minister back from the United States last week where she was attending the United Nations General Assembly with President Gabriel Boric.

The 10 terabytes of data taken by the group also include emails from the militaries in El Salvador, Peru and Colombia, as well as El Salvador’s National Police. The Mexico portion of the data appeared to be the largest.

A group of anonymous, self-described social justice warriors who call themselves Guacamaya say they use hacking to expose injustice and corruption in defense of Indigenous peoples. Hackers using the same name previously hacked and released the emails of a mining company long accused of human rights and environmental abuses in Guatemala.

In a statement accompanying the most recent action, the group complained of the plundering of Latin America, which it refers to as Abya Yala, by colonizers and the continuing extractivist goals of the “Global North.”

The group issued a 1,400-word comunique saying that the militaries and police of Latin American countries, often with extensive training by the United States, are used by governments “to keep their inhabitants prisoner.”

“The police minimize the risk that the people exercise their honorable right to protest, to destroy the system that oppresses them,” the group wrote.

The group said it would make the documents available to journalists, but so far only a tiny portion has been reported — in part, perhaps, because of the sheer quantity of the data.

In an email exchange, the hackers said that their review of the Mexico emails so far indicated that much of the information was already publicly available and they doubted there were “explosive” emails — possibly because more sensitive communications were better protected.

But they said there was evidence of the military closely following political and social movements.

They said those include relatives of 43 students who were kidnapped by local police and allegedly handed over to be killed by a drug gang in 2014 — a case in which some military officers have been accused of involvement — as well as the Zapatista rebel movement that staged a 1994 uprising in southern Mexico and groups opposed to López Obrador’s current effort to build a tourist train around the Yucatan Peninsula.

Rather than seeking monetary benefit or ransom for compromising government information systems through a cyberattack, Guacamaya appears to be more of a “hacktivist” hack-and-leak operation with social justice goals.

López Obrador was responding to a television report by Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola who said among the hacked emails were medical records about the president, including a previously undisclosed emergency air flight to the capital from his ranch in January, when he was suffering serious chest pains and at risk of a heart attack.

Later that month he underwent a heart catheterization, which was made public, but at the time was described as the result of a routine examination. López Obrador suffered a heart attack in 2013 and has high blood pressure.

The 68-year-old president noted at his news conference that he suffers from a number of ailments and undergoes checkups every few months.


Bajak reported from Lima, Peru.

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