The Police Say...
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(And now for a complete change of mood.)

This is some serious stuff, and the reason why there won't be a Pole Chase this year.

As received from Dean Harris's office, September 1997.


We would like to congratulate the FREC committee and FREC's for a well organized FROSH week. We know that their hard work made the transition to Queen's easier and less stressful for you.

After the pole, there is an unauthorized event, which is not organized or sanctionaed by the FREC committee, or the University. We are speaking about hiding the grease pole. We have attached a copy of the OPP report on this year's event. As you can see, the activities which result from your enthusiasm to keep (or steal) the greasepole are dangerous and unacceptable.

George Dyke, President of EngSoc will be discussing this issue with you in the next several weeks.

Dr Tom Harris, Dean
Faculty of Applied Science
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Jim Mason
Associate Dean (First Year)
Faculty of Applied Science


On 06 Sep 97, four officers from this detachment performed special duty patrolling the area where the Queen's University Engineering Society Grease Pole Event was held. The officers performing the duty were Constable E. Chong, Constable K. Charette, Constable V. Wyatt and Constable D. Wolf As a result of their observation and involvement in the event, all four constables expressed grave concerns over the conduct and the safety of the event participants.  During the course of the event, the officers observed numerous motor vehicles parked on the shoulder of Cummins Road, partially impeding traffic flow through that area.  The officers also observed that the majority of the participants were heavily intoxicated and some were wandering along the roadway; the officers had to escort participants off the roadway on several occasions. Some of the participants were so intoxicated they had to be physically held up by their companions. The officers had also observed several participants passed out in the bush prior to the official start of the event.

While patrolling the area surrounding the event, the officers came upon a number of vehicles parked on the side of the road and the occupants were plotting the route and planning the eventual pursuit of the van carrying the Grease Pole.  At the completion of the activities in the private farm area, all of the participants exited the area at the same time and all the parked vehicles were driven away. The officers at the scene had a difficult time assuring all drivers were sober. The van carrying the Grease Pole also left the scene at that time; it left at a high rate of speed, cutting across in front of a marked police cruiser and sped off. An unmarked cruiser followed the van and the officers observed numerous offences committed by the van and other vehicles pursuing the van. Officers Wyatt and Charette observed an individual from the pursuing vehicles jumping on to the van while the van was in motion; Charette estimated the speed of the van to be approximately 25 km/h at the time and the van did not even slow down. The pursuing vehicles attempted to block the path of the van, passed on the unpaved portion of the highway, were driven at speed above the posted speed limit and were driven carelessly and recklessly. All posted traffic regulations, including all stop signs, were ignored by the drivers. Constable Charette described the incident as "a scene out of the movie Cannonball Run."

Attempts by Charette and Wyatt to stop the van in the unmarked cruiser (it was equipped with emergency lights and sirens) were unsuccessful; the vehicles did not respond to the emergency lights or the sirens at all. The van led the whole caravan on a high speed pursuit through major and secondary roads in two counties. The van and the 20 or so pursuing vehicles were taking up the full width of the roadway, at times the unpaved shoulder as well; as a result, Charette and Wyatt were unable to safely maneuver their cruiser to the front of the caravan to stop the vehicles.  When the caravan reached the intersection of Highway 7 and Highway 38, Charette and Wyatt were able to block the ramp off behind the van, got out of the cruiser to wam the pursuing drivers before going off duty. This office was notified in writing by Queen's University prior to the event, requesting officers to attend. Constable Chong had agreed to the proposal put forth by event organizers that the officer remain outside the private property where the event was being held. The event was officially sanctioned by the administration of Queen's University and in its notification to our office, it was indicated that there had been troubles in previous years with intoxicated persons at the event.

In subsequent discussions between Constable Chong and the event organizers, the organizers claimed that they had no control over the participants' conduct after they had left the event site; Chong reminded the organizers that they had requested police presence in anticipation of trouble and in the written request it was stated that there was always a pursuit of the van, based on previous years' experience. Chong also indicated to the organizers that the fact they allowed the van to leave the site knowing that it would be pursued by other vehicles would suggests they allowed or even encouraged the pursuit of occur, or at the very least allowed the opportunity for the pursuit to begin.

The officers involved with the event came to the conclusion that Queen's University and the Engineering Society should create plans and strategy to prevent any such problem in the future if the University is to sanction future events. Steps that can be taken include banning alcohol consumption at the event and enforcing the ban, having a larger police presence at the event, banning all vehicles to and from the site of the event, providing buses to transport the participants and warning participants of the consequences of violating the laws and statutes. The organizers of the event, Queen's Security and the OPP should hold a meeting prior to the event to discuss the security and safety issues and formulate an action plan for these issues.

Constable Chong suggested that if these steps are not taken, the police can do the following to prevent any violation of the laws and to maintain peace and safety of the public: to arrest and charge all persons who are intoxicated in public place, to ticket and remove all illegally parked vehicles, to assign extra officers to patrol the area and strictly enforce all statutes including the Highway Traffic Act. The officers involved in the event believe that the University, the students, the Engineering Society and the OPP can co-operate and work together to make future Grease Pole events successful and safe for everyone.

Provincial Constable E. Chong

[Ed: Italics and formatting added by editor]

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Legend of the Greasepole Website maintained by Rob Burke. Last updated October 2004.