Smack-talking cops? Not really.

Police Chief John Gardiner, right, speaks to OPP Sgt. Paul Legault, while OPP Supt. Carson Pardy, centre, looks on during the April 10 finance, administration and operations committee meeting.


I believe it was the late, great Recorder and Times scribe Harry Painting who once famously said: "Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story."

Looking at today's front-page story on the OPP costing vote, I am inclined to add a similar maxim: "Don't let the facts get in the way of a good picture."

At first glance, it appears Police Chief John Gardiner is sizing up OPP Sgt. Paul Legault for a fight, and from the expression on Legault's face, it's clear the fight will be consensual. In the middle is OPP Supt. Carson Pardy, looking undecided as to which fighter to put his money on.

My money, for now, is on the municipal police force remaining municipal, but after yesterday's talk at finance, administration and operations, I am inclined to predict there will be a costing before that decision is final. More on this in my city column in tomorrow's paper, assuming the paper version of what we do makes it here through Snowmageddon III: Revenge of the Slush.

As for the photo, the audio behind it would disappoint anyone looking for a good fight story. Cops, I believe, train themselves at an early stage in their careers to maintain a stern expression, the kind that dissuades most bad guys from playing chicken with them. The truth is Gardiner had just walked into the room when this photo was taken, and so had walked over to greet his colleagues professionally and courteously.

They then went on to talk shop and complain, under their breath, about the reporter trying to snap a photo of them.

Ultimately, I wouldn't want to play chicken with any of these guys, and it's clear either team would do a professional job of policing Brockville.

But then, competence is not the issue in this debate. Identity is.