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May 24, 2013 3:52 AM   Subscribe

Bernie "Whistling" Smith, a legendary, no-nonsense Vancouver cop was the subject of this 1975. Oscar nominated documentary.

Whistling’ Bernie Smith spent 34 years in uniform, including a stint fighting prostitution and drugs on Hastings.

“He comes from a different time of being a police officer in Vancouver when the officer himself had tremendous amount of responsibility as a single person watching and keeping an eye on what was happening on his own block,” notes Vancouver author and historian Aaron Chapman.
posted by KevinSkomsvold (3 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
“You can see in the film that Bernie certainly had some abrasive tactics and maybe those tactics wouldn’t work today, some of them maybe would. But it was a different time and you were dealing with oddly enough the same streets and some of the same problems that police in Vancouver are dealing with today,” Chapman adds.

"Why don't you go somewhere else and ply the oldest trade in the world?," he says as he chases two women off the street.

Those tactics wouldn't work today, because there is some small chance that a patrolman would get himself into trouble for pistol whipping you when you refused to move. I remember one particular day in 1974/1975 when a Philadelphia cop beat the snot out of my wiseass friend who absolutely asked for it and when those cops told the rest of us to move, we moved.

But those hippie liberals got rid of Frank Rizzo and cleaned up the police force and it's not quite like it was anymore.
posted by three blind mice at 5:30 AM on May 24, 2013

I met was rousted by Bernie Smith once, back in the early 70's. Some friends and I were out on an underage pub crawl and had managed to get our bellies full of beer and our heads full of pot in a couple of the skid row beer parlours. As we were walking unsteadily down Hastings Street he stopped us and we had a little chat.
I don't remember exactly what he said but he started off friendly then ended with something the gist of which was "now you boys get the fuck off my beat and don't let me catch you here again".
And yes, he was whistling as he walked away.
posted by islander at 10:41 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

Awesome story islander, and excellent documentary.
posted by ageispolis at 10:22 PM on May 28, 2013

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