This screenshot taken from a video made by three Durham officers that was posted on YouTube shows Sgt. Mike Glennie's fictional application for transfer being denied. Sgt. Glennie told The Oshawa Express the video was never meant to be leaked and was meant to be kept in-house to make fellow officers laugh.
By Lindsey Cole/The Oshawa Express
Durham Regional Police Sergeant Mike Glennie says a YouTube video showing he and two other officers was meant to be lighthearted and humourous - more importantly, it wasn’t meant to be leaked.
The video, entitled Central Cells, is just over a minute long and resembles a Hollywood action movie trailer, showing the officers trying to get out of the Court Services Branch. At one point it shows a red “denied” stamp being put on an application for transfer, at another point Sgt. Glennie runs at the camera with a taser. Then Constable Paul Grigoriou makes snow angels on a cruiser, while Special Constable Harold Tasson mops up what looks like blood in one of the cells.
The video caused Police Chief Mike Ewles to launch an internal investigation. He stated in a release the employees were “disgruntled” and that he was embarrassed and disappointed. The investigation is now in the hands of the Professional Standards Unit.
But Sgt. Glennie, who was speaking on behalf of himself and not the other officers, says the chief isn’t accurate in that portrayal.
“The chief’s characterization of three disgruntled employees couldn’t be more misguided,” he says. “The intention of that video, first of all, was to be kept in-house. It was designed to uplift and create humour to the employees of that unit.”
He says it was also meant to get a laugh from others within the force, “and for the most part, we accomplished that.”
The video shows several phrases throughout it, highlighting its potential plotline.
“Three officers/On a quest for freedom/Will discover there is no escape from cellblock/Forced to serve prisoners/How far will they go for freedom?” it reads.
Sgt. Glennie explains that he has received positive feedback from other police services in Ontario, who have stated “Absolutely fabulous central lock up video. We loved it down here.”
Some scenes in the video also show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford when he made his drunk driving steering gesture, as well as a scene of the officers waving goodbye to U.S. President Barack Obama. The credits state it wasn’t made on company time.
Sgt. Glennie does acknowledge what the officers did may have been wrong, but he reiterates, “it was meant to be lighthearted and it was meant to be in-house.”
He says when it was created there were thoughts he’d use it as his retirement video, not knowing it would have been seen by hundreds on YouTube.
Chief Ewles stated previously, the video was concerning.
“As the chief, I am disappointed by this on a number of levels,” he said. “Our Courts Branch plays an incredibly important role in our business and I want to assure members of the community that we take this important function very seriously. I have no idea what the motivation for producing this video would be, but I believe it is disrespectful to the hardworking men and women of this branch and embarrassing for everyone here at the DRPS.”
Durham Police would not comment on Sgt. Glennie’s reasons behind the video or on the investigation.
The Durham police sergeant says he intends to retire in about 19 months and has loved every minute of his career, again stating he is anything but disgruntled.
“I’ve had a great career,” he says, adding he just wanted to lighten the mood in a unit that has its share of challenges. “It’s a tough place to work. It’s like working in the engine room of a boat.”