B.C.'s police complaint commissioner has set a date to review disciplinary measures for an off-duty special constable who blew over the limit during a check stop.
Commissioner Stan Lowe has rejected two proposed penalties — a written reprimand and a one-day suspension without pay — for Special Municipal Const. Leanne Keith, who was flagged down at a check stop in Coquitlam in March 2017.
According to the office's notice of review on the record, Keith, who works with the New Westminster Police Department, told the officer who stopped her that she had consumed a glass of wine an hour prior.
She then failed a breath sample. Keith was issued an immediate, 90-day roadside prohibition and her car was impounded for 30 days.
At a pre-hearing conference last October, Chief Const. Dave Jones, also with New Westminster police, proposed Keith be given a written reprimand.
Lowe rejected that proposal, arguing that it "did not address the seriousness of the misconduct," and asked that a senior officer from another police department act as the discipline officer for the case.
In February 2018, Supt. Marcie Flamand with the Vancouver Police Department determined that Keith's drunk driving "would be likely to bring discredit on a municipal police department" and proposed she be suspended without pay for one day, according to the notice.
Reasons for Flamand's decision included:
- Keith's "full acceptance of responsibility and sincere remorse";
- Her "unblemished employment record";
- That her drunk driving didn't result in an accident or injury;
- And that Keith was not working as a uniformed officer at the time and her special constable duties were not like other officers', who conduct "police-like duties."
Lowe rejected that proposal, as well.
Sworn officers 'held to a higher standard'
In the notice, Lowe said Keith's status as a special constable shouldn't factor into the disciplinary decision.
"SMC Keith plays an integral role in the initiation of criminal proceedings, including those charging persons with criminal offences for impaired driving," Lowe wrote.
"Tying responsibility to the duties performed creates artificial distinctions that are not consistent with the public expectation that sworn officers be held to a higher standard."
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Source : https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/commissioner-to-review-discipline-for-special-constable-caught-driving-drunk-1.4749524