Constables Brian Hobbs and Skye Thouli take time out from their shift patrolling Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to give a group of hockey players a tour of skid row. What they encounter are the harsh realties of addiction, crime and mental illness. At a nearby rooming house, other members of the Beat Enforcement Team attempt to break up drug rooms that are popping up throughout the establishment. But hidden cameras, fortified doors and escape ropes, keep the dealers one step ahead of the authorities. After four straight nights working the beat, Constable Steve Addison, an ex-journalist, cools off by writing an entry on his popular blog, Eastside Stories: Diary of a Beat Cop.
Amid the drugs, poverty and general dysfunction of the Downtown Eastside, The Beat Enforcement Team— a special unit charged with keeping order in the area— are also responsible for patrolling an increasingly trendy club scene in Gastown. Busting middle-class drunk kids for disorderly conduct is hardly the BET’s idea of a good time. But when details emerge of a young man’s disappearance from a Gastown bar, the squad hits the pavement in hopes of reuniting him with his family before the holidays. Meanwhile, Sergeant Toby Hinton organizes an evening of hot yoga to promote team-building within the unit. Constable Kal Dosanjh skips out on the fun, but Sergeant Hinton gets his revenge when the two square off at the Judo club.
It’s Christmas Eve on skid row, and Sergeant Hinton’s squad are “armed with holiday spirit”. That spirit is immediately put to the test as an apparent pipe beating turns out to be a more serious case of domestic abuse. On the other end of the Downtown Eastside, Sergeant Steinkampf is stuck behind a desk at the district Jail, patiently awaiting his reassignment to the Beat Enforcement Team. Christmas turns to New Year’s, and Constable Kal Dosanjh is left to supervise the team through a long night of revelry and civil disobedience. Finally, Sergeant Steinkampf makes his triumphant return at the helm of the BET’s Squad 3. He wastes no time making his mark, bagging his first criminal mere minutes into his shift.
Just after midnight on Welfare Wednesday, the poor and drug addicted of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside can be found lining up at the bank machines. Their monthly dose of cash is coming in, which means drug binges, overdoses and a whole host of other incidents for the area’s police force to control. Constables Ken Smith and Andrew Penner use the time to crack down on non-addicted dealers who employ local addicts as their drug mules. When word comes in of a suspected abduction, Beat Enforcement Team officers believe it to be over a drug debt. Meanwhile, Sergeant Hinton films an emotional interview with a longtime Eastside resident, in hopes that her story will prevent other youth from being lured into a life of drug abuse.
Vancouver’s booming real estate market means luxury condo buildings are popping up everywhere— even the Downtown Eastside. But how will the influx of money affect the area’s poorest and most vulnerable residents? With a little persistence, the Beat Enforcement Team manage to break up a bicycle chop-shop being run out of a nearby hotel. Their hard work earns them praise from the VPD’s top brass. At another rooming house, Constables Petre and Addison set their sights on a suspected crystal meth and illegal credit card operation. But after days of diligent surveillance, it’s a run-of-the-mill domestic dispute that gets them the arrests they were looking for.
New immigration rules are making it tough for the Beat Enforcement Team to crack down on an increasing number of Central American drug dealers working on skid row. And the dealers aren’t making the task any easier, using a simple but affective technique of swallowing their stash before officers can apprehend them. Meanwhile, Constable Dave Steverding is confronted with two sides of the drug dilemma on the Downtown Eastside: encouraging an addict to get the treatment he needs, and working with a politician for more effective regulations. Finally, a combination of video surveillance and sheer persistence helps the BET arrest over a dozen immigrant dealers.
In a place where poverty, drug addiction and mental illness are pervasive, suicide is a grim and unavoidable reality. So when a series of attempts occur in the span of a few days, members of the BET are forced to balance deep emotion with their responsibilities as officers of the peace. As if that wasn’t enough, members of a group called Cop-Watch are putting pressure on Downtown Eastside police through protests, and by filming them as they patrol the neighborhood. Sergeant Toby Hinton and Constable Steve Addison get an unexpected visit from Nicole, a former addict who credits them with helping her get off the streets.
Suspicious activity in a Chinatown alleyway points to a large-scale drug operation being run out of a coffee shop. Using all means at their disposal, members of the BET gather enough evidence for a search warrant. With patience and planning, Operation Barista goes off without a hitch, and results in the arrest of the ringleader, her violent accomplice and the addicted workers they employ. The takedown also nets the police a substantial cache of drugs, money and weapons. Meanwhile, Sergeants Toby Hinton and Mark Steinkampf prepare for a trip to the Far North to address aboriginal youth on the perils crime and drug addiction.
The Beat Enforcement Team are called to a number of situations involving First Nations residents of the Downtown Eastside, who make up an alarming proportion of the area’s homeless and addicted. Especially alarming are clashes between the community’s two warring street gangs- the Red Alert and the Indian Posse. Meanwhile, Toby, Mark, Dave and Brian tour the Far North, speaking with aboriginal youth about the dangers of crime and drug abuse, and get a feel for what it’s like to patrol remote arctic outposts. Back in Vancouver, the squad feels the sting of staff shortages, just as a new recruit, named Bryan Nykon, makes his way through the police department’s basic training.
Upon graduating from the Vancouver Police Academy, rookie cop Bryan Nykon gets assigned to the Downtown Eastside for on-the-job training. Alongside Constable Dave Steverding, Bryan learns the ropes on one of the toughest beats around. When a rooming house manager gets his door kicked in by an angry father and son, officers Hinton and Hobbs initially have him pegged as the victim. But when Constable Hobbs reviews surveillance footage of the assault, he discovers that the situation isn’t quite so simple. After 10 years cooped up in an old, decrepit station, the Beat Enforcement Team are finally moved into a brand new precinct next door.