Thursday, April 13, 2006

Book'em Danno!

Rescued! Freed! Reunited! Those are the words that are reverberating throughout all media as they describe the raids that ended the McMynn kidnapping case yesterday.

When word of this event began to get out, I am sure ALL newsrooms in the lower mainland went to DEFCON 5 ( those of you that remember the Cold War, DEFCON 5 was full mobilization of all forces available).
And mobilize they did. When I received the call to launch, the cloud ceiling was low. That coupled with the fact we had a tactical operation unfolding could spell disaster as far as airspace restrictions. The first location we had dispatched to, was in east Van and by the time we arrived, the call had come for us to head to a Surrey address. Damn, I thought. I hadn't even got a chance to zero in on location #1. I hoped that we had someone on the ground. When we arrived at the Surrey location we went into wide orbits. As it turned out we were close but not quite at the exact location. Events were unfolding quickly. Word came to us that the lad had been recovered ALIVE and was now on his way to hospital. "Head to Surrey Memorial" was the directive from Control. When we arrived I spotted one of our Surrey camera ops on the ground. Before long an ambulance and Police cars.
Without much warning, "you're hot to Newsnet!" crackled the radio. They seemed to stay on my shot for a long time. Brian our pilot, was doing a wonderful job of flying the machine so as not to have the skid creep into the shot.
"You're still hot, Murman" said control. Brian was letting me know our fuel situation as by now we had been in the air for some time. "Vancouver Base, we are going to need fuel shortly, let me know when we can be released." Word came up, we would be cutting into programming so we would be needed. Again, fuel was fast becoming an issue.
When were finally released, we headed to Boundry Bay for fuel. I was convinced that I had just screwed up the biggest story of the year as I was still kicking myself for not getting a bead on Location#1 and only contributing a wide shot of the emergency entrance of Surrey Memorial Hospital. I felt so low, that walking into the tail rotor, was not out of the question.
We fueled up and headed back to Surrey. This time zeroing in on the Take Down House. As we orbited a large crowd gathered. There were several News crews on the ground shooting the activity in the front of the house. In back and hidden from the assembled ground crews a tactical squad of RCMP began removing individuals from the basement apartment of the house. It was gold. We watched as Police brought out the suspects one by one in cuffs. We counted 5 arrested. Three males and 2 females.
It was quite a flight mission almost surreal, one I won't forget. The only thing missing was a mid seventies, blue Ford LTD pulling up onto the scene and Jack Lord jumping out to say "Book'em Danno"

Later in the day VPD held a press conference. We watched from our orbit above the Surrey scene. The look on Police Chief Graham's face said it all. Success.
It also became clear just how big this operation was. The fact they recovered young McMynn alive certainly gave this story the ending everybody had hoped for.
The pictures that aired later in the day gave testiment of how much hustle all ground cameras performed.

Today in the Police briefing we got a glimpse of just how complicated a tactical operation it was. All I can say is WOW.
We sometimes hear and have to report on the misdeeds of a few Police Officers. It often taints the view the public has of Law Enforcement. I am sure that this operation will give the public a idea of just how professional the majority are. So my hats off to the men an women of the VPD and the RCMP, who made it all happen.

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