Police officer’s dismissal for fake certifications could impact drug cases

Earlier in November, a retired Saanich police officer was retroactively dismissed from his department following the conclusion of an investigation by B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

The results of the investigation demonstrated that the police officer was responsible for re-certifying the department’s “Drug Recognition Experts,” and had knowingly approved several certifications for officers who had not completed proper training.

The investigation was requested by the Saanich Police Department in May 2018, and the file was closed between April 2020 and March 2021. According to the OPCC, the misconduct had occurred between 2014 and 2016.

The complaint included 16 allegations against the officer, while OPCC’s discipline authority concluded that all complaints were substantiated.

In addition, the investigation concluded that the officer had committed “neglect of duty” by “re-certifying a number of police officers, including himself, which was in contravention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) DRE policy.”

According to the OPCC report, the officer also committed “discreditable conduct” by “engaging in practices not consistent with the IACP standards for recertification, which resulted in police officers being re-certified when they did not meet the requirements.”

Furthermore, the remaining 14 allegations were associated with instances of signing off on recertifications despite knowledge that the minimum requirements for recertification were not met. The OPCC collectively referred to these 14 allegations as “deceit.”

Since the police officer had retired before the investigation into his misconduct was concluded, he did not attend the discipline proceeding in the case.

The OPCC issued the officer an 18-month demotion for the neglect of duty allegation, and ordered his dismissal for the other 15 allegations.

The officer’s record now indicates he was dismissed from the Saanich Police Department.

The officer’s conduct “undermines and has a significant and adverse impact on public trust and confidence in the police to do their jobs with honour and integrity,” the OPCC report states.

According to Victoria lawyer and impaired-driving expert Jerry Steele, the impact of the officer’s actions could extend to drug-impairment prosecutions.

“When police are acting in good faith, they are protected. This officer was not acting in good faith and possibly he and the department could be sued,” said Steele. “They would have to cancel drug-impaired prosecutions. Any [immediate roadside prohibitions] could get tossed.”

Saanich police has not yet commented on the impact of the dismissed officer’s actions on drug cases. It is currently not known whether the officer’s actions affected any drug-impairment prosecutions.

 

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