An annual report released this week by the Officer of the Police Complaint Commissioner is shedding light on some of the most head-turning misconduct by municipal police officers across B.C.
The report, tabled in the legislature this week, found a 15 per cent increase in the number of investigations by the office between April 2018 to March 2019 compared to the same time period a year prior.
Investigations include police-involved incidents that result in injury, misconduct allegations brought forward by superior officers and complaints made by the public.
Officers facing misconduct investigations can be reprimanded in various ways based on the severity of the incident – from being ordered to write apologies to suspended leaves. Three officers were dismissed from the force in 2017-18, the report said.
Here’s a look at some of worst incidents investigated in 2018-19:
Workplace harassment training ordered for cop who slapped colleagues crotches
A Kootenay cop was investigated by the OPCC for inappropriate behaviour on multiple occasions at the Nelson police detachment, including slapping the genital area of fellow male officers and degrading a female officer.
According to the investigation, the cop – who was a front line supervisor – used a derogatory term to refer to one of his female colleagues while in front of other employees at the detachment in April 2017. For that instance, the officer received a written reprimand. The cop also received a verbal reprimand for slapping the genital area of male officers while on duty on multiple occasions.
He was ordered to take workplace harassment training.
West Vancouver cop sends naked photos to a domestic violence victim
A West Vancouver police officer was fired after sending naked photos of himself to a domestic violence victim and pursued relationships with other vulnerable victims.
The report, which called the behaviour “predatory,” found that the officer had used his position of trust to develop sexual relationships with at least 11 women he met while on duty.
The officer retired before a disciplinary hearing could be conducted, but the report says his employment records will say he was dismissed from the department.
Cop uses police database to search an extended family member with gang ties
On Aug. 10, 2018 a police officer in Delta told his supervisors that he used a police database, called PRIME, to search an extended family member who had known gang associations – but it wasn’t the first time. According to the investigation, the officer also admitted he had searched through the same database in the past, ranging as far back as November 2011.
The officer had informed the police department of the particular family member’s gang ties “several years ago.” The OPCC determined that the his searches didn’t impact any ongoing criminal investigations, and the officer received a written reprimand and had to review department manuals on how to use police databases.
Officer suspended for 4 days after failing to give people distracted driving tickets
A police officer was suspended for four days and had to undergo training for handing out a number of tickets to drivers for lesser violations after they were caught using their cellphones while behind the wheel.
Between June 19 and July 22 the Delta cop issued 20 motor vehicle violation tickets to 11 drivers, the investigation found.
During the misconduct proceedings, the Discipline Authority called for a suspension for 22 days, a reduction in rank for one year and that the officer work under close supervision once he returned to work.
But the adjudicator said that the officer misunderstood what his police discretion included. In addition to the suspension, the officer had to undertake special training on procedure.
Victoria cop uses emergency lights, sirens to get her kids to school on time
A Victoria officer running late to get her kids to school was found to have inappropriately treated the situation like an emergency, using her police van lights and sirens to bypass traffic.
According to the investigation report, the officer strapped her two children together using one seat belt in the passenger seat, before activating the siren and emergency lights. Several motorists pulled over to allow her through.
That officer resigned from the force for reasons unknown during the investigation.
Transit cop lashes out at squad over snacks served at meeting
A transit police officer was ordered to write an apology to colleagues after he caused a spectacle during a squad briefing over the division of snacks and drinks offered at the meeting.
On Sept. 28, 2017, the police officer interrupted the briefing to voice his displeasure before calling a fellow officer a derogatory name in front of his colleagues, including an inspector. During the discipline hearing, the officer argued that the cop in charge of dividing the food equally offended him but ultimately admitted he retaliated in an inappropriate way.
The officer was ordered to prepare a letter of apology to present at a later meeting.
Cop tried to convince a sexual assault victim not to report, then was deceitful about it
A longtime Saanich police officer counselled a victim not to report their sexual assault to police, an investigation found.
The cop, who had been with the force for 26 years at the time of the investigation, received a 20-day suspension for counselling the victim to not report their sexual assault to police. His actions sparked an internal probe, where he received a further 30 days after providing false or misleading statements to the investigating officer.
Vancouver officer flashes police badge while doing some personal banking – twice
On Oct. 25, 2017 a Vancouver police officer flashed his police badge while off duty to employees at a bank during two different banking transactions.
It’s unclear exactly why the cop decided to identify himself as a police officer, but investigators called the incident “serious misconduct.” The officer told the police complaint commissioner that he now understands that this type of conduct put the two bank clerks in a difficult position.
He was suspended for a total of two days, or one for each badge flash.
Surveillance team debriefs with beers in hand
An investigation requested by the Vancouver Police Department found four officers failed to meet community expectations on how police officers should conduct themselves after drinking beer while debriefing in September 2017.
The officers, all part of a surveillance team, each had a beer mid-shift while discussing portions of the days’ surveillance on Sept. 12 and 13.
“Although the police officers still had a few hours remaining in their shift, they would not be redeployed as active police officers,” the investigation report reads. There was no evidence to suggest any of the officers were impaired, and they each received a verbal reprimand.
Senior ranking cop physically disciplines officer by slapping her buttocks
A senior-ranking police officer in Vancouver was reprimanded after he physically disciplined a special municipal constable during an official department event, but resigned before he could face his punishment.
The incident happened in April 2017, when the superior officer removed the female constable’s hands from her pockets and then smacked or slapped her on the buttocks. Special municipal constables include jail guards, community safety personnel and traffic authority members.
Two months later, while the incident was under internal investigation, the senior police officer sent an email to staff which contradicted the female officer’s recount of what happened. According to the investigation report, the senior officer was nearing retirement, after working for 40 years with the force, and his training on harassment in the workplace was “outdated.”
Despite resignation, the record indicates the officer was handed down a two-month suspension, reassignment of department and also ordered to be retrained on how to be respectful in the workplace.