Thursday, July 7, 2011

How To Get Suspended From The RCMP

La Presse, by virtue of the Access to Information Act, has the answer!

There are 22,000 RCMP officers in Canada. 396 officers behaved so reprehensibly that they were suspended from active duty since the year 2000. So what's does it take to suspended from the RCMP?

(Wearing high heels was NOT the
biggest offence for RCMP agents)
Nearly a quarter of suspended RCMP officers (89) owe their suspension to inappropriate sexual behaviour.
  • An RCMP officer has been suspended with pay in 2000 when he was suspected of "inappropriate contact with a child." He agreed to retire four years later, which put an end to disciplinary action against him.
  • Another RCMP agent used his work computer to solicit sex. His efforts appear to have been successful because he was also charged with having sex during his shifts. He was suspended with pay three years before being fired.
  • Another officer behaved like a real Casanova at work and was duly suspended. In 2002, he had offered to drop charges against an alleged offender in return for a tryst. The offer appears to have declined since a complaint was filed. The officer was suspended with pay for one year.
  • In another case, a police officer in 2004 required the handiwork of prostitutes in his service vehicle during his shift. The same documents indicate he was in uniform at the time of the act. Suspended with pay, he returned to the police three years later.
Second most common problem for RCMP officers? 69 RCMP agents - nearly 17% of those suspended - had problems so severe with drugs and alcohol that it merited a suspension. 
  • Here's an example that's both disturbing and comforting: one RCMP agent was arrested in 2001 for drunk driving. He asserted his status as a police officer to avoid a breathalyzer test and had an open bottle of alcohol in his car. Suspended with pay, he returned to the force several months later. Other officers who were intoxicated with the idea to present their badges to avoid trouble were also suspended. So good to see agents reporting the conduct but it's equally disturbing to think the RCMP officer feels that identifying himself as an agent would result in only a wag of the finger.
  • Police officers who participated in drug searches were, in turn, caught when their colleagues discovered that some of the drugs seized had mysteriously disappeared. An agent has been suspended without pay since 2010 for allegedly stealing and selling marijuana stored at the police station.
Another 69 officers were suspended for threats and assault.
  • In 2005, a police officer was accused of illegally detaining and beating a person only to be abandoned on a lonely road. The officer was initially suspended with pay, he lost his pay in 2006 and finally resigned four years later.
  • There are four incidents in which agents allegedly threatened colleagues with their service weapons. Two lost their jobs while the two were reinstated. The case of one of the reinstated officers is particularly disturbing. Not only did he point his gun at two of his colleagues in 2009, but his record indicates that he was also suspected of buying, selling and consuming cocaine. They believed he had links with known criminals and routinely drove his vehicle while impaired. Suspended with pay, he returned to the force several months later.
Fraud also led to the suspension of 31 officers since 2000.
  • A policeman was suspended in 2003 for attempting to defraud his insurer, Great-West, of $100,000. The man finally decided to retire a few months later, which put an end to disciplinary action.
  • Another, in 2004, would have diverted funds from a humanitarian cause.
There's some misuse of public funds of course but there's some classic cases of negligence.
  • In 2002, an officer failed to appear at a trial, which led to the dismissal of a court case which concerned "serious charges". His testimony was a key for the Crown. He was suspended with pay and then regained his position the following year.
  • The highest award for negligence, however, goes to four officers who were suspended with pay in 2010 for not having provided assistance to a prisoner who was being assaulted by a fellow detainee. According to the record, the four officers watched as the prisoner forced the other into a sex act without intervening.

4 comments:

  1. Is 'suspension with pay' supposed to be a punishment? Does it in any way discourage repeat offenses?

    Sounds more like a prize: they get paid to sit at home and drink beer instead of being at work.

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  2. Agreed. The "with pay" clause is disturbing especially considering some of the behaviours. It's worrying that not one of these stories made headlines when they first occurred nor will any reporter try to find out more about some of the more grievous offences.

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  3. These officers are suspended with pay because in Canada we have this wee little principle called "the right to be presumed innocent", and taking away their pay before they had their case adjudicated would violate their Charter rights. I would rather see them get payed while awaiting a hearing than throw out the right of presumption of innocence. Just consider their being payed while on suspension one of the prices we pay for democracy.

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  4. I think it has more to do with their employment contract rather than their Charter rights.

    And considering that these hearings seem to take multiple years in some case and some of the officers retire with a full pension before the outcome of the disciplinary panel's decision raises serious questions about the process.

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