CHIEF CONSTABLE JIM CHU
By now I’m sure that you have all read the riot review by John Furlong and Douglas Keefe.
I was very pleased to see that much of their review echoed the content, conclusions and recommendations of the internal review we conducted at the VPD.
Today I am going to share with you the Executive Summary of this 100-page review. Of course, you’ll be able to read the entire document if you wish on our website.
I won’t waste your time by reading you content that you already have in front of you but I would like to share my general impressions.
You’ll see that we based our number of police officers on the street that night on experience, information we received, and the professional judgement of our VPD planning staff.
No one had information that there was going to be a riot. No one had information that the crowd would swell to this size.
At the VPD, we all strongly believed that the city had changed and matured since 1994 and that we had shown over and over again that we could celebrate large and celebrate safely.
We were surprised by the size of the crowd but that doesn’t mean we weren’t prepared.
Despite some glitches, our plan worked and worked well. We controlled the riot in three hours. No one was seriously injured or killed and officers performed in a brave and professional manner.
It’s important not to lose sight of this key fact as we pick over the bones of that night.
We will be better prepared next time. We do grow stronger and smarter after each of these incidents. Lessons learned in 1994 led to this much larger riot being suppressed in half the time.
But we didn’t really invite you here this morning to hear another speech from me.
As you digest these documents, I think it is helpful to enrich these insights with comments from those who were actually on the front lines. While these documents are important to planners and academics, it is always the human stories that are most compelling.
I have asked Inspector Steve Rai, Sergeant Howard Chow and Constable Laura Jacquet to share their memories and experiences.