The arrival in Winnipeg of an Alberta-based "news magazine" stuffed with free and publicly available police-issued press releases has commercial crime investigators warning local business owners there's no association between the publication and the police service.
"There's no affiliation between that magazine and police in Winnipeg and police in Manitoba," Det. Sgt. Shaun Veldman of the commercial crime unit told the Free Press Friday.
In recent months, police say they've gotten complaints from local business owners saying they're being solicited to purchase ads in Police Newsmagazine.
They're being left with the false impression the magazine is associated with police agencies or the Winnipeg Police Association, Veldman said.
"We have had people also make a complaint that they are very insistent," Veldman said.
Police are asking anyone who gets a call requesting money to support a charity or not-for-profit agency to ask for information to be sent along in writing. "Legitimate charities and organizations will have no problem giving you this information and they do not request credit card or personal information over the phone," police said.
The Fall 2013 Winnipeg edition of the magazine features multiple business card-sized ads from businesses ranging from local restaurants and renovators to doctors and a major convenience store chain.
Many feature slogans like: "best wishes to all members of the Winnipeg police," and "thanking all the police members in the greater Winnipeg area."
According to its online advertising rate card, having an 1/8th-page ad in the magazine costs $249.50. A full page runs $1399.50.
Police Newsmagazine is published by Edmonton-based company Cedar Publishing.
It describes itself as "an independent publishing agency which specializes in the creation, production and placement of custom print-media publications for non-profit organizations and professional associations."
The Winnipeg contact address for the company is for a box at a UPS store on River Avenue.
A "notice to readers" in small type on an inside page states the magazine is "not associated nor affiliated with with the Winnipeg Police Service, nor with any professional police association, association, commission or union."