Cumbersome disciplinary process does no favours to the police or the public

INSPECTOR Dana Hart, the officer in charge of the Terrace RCMP detachment, says he was shocked, dismayed and disappointed when, upon assuming command here, he encountered reports of steroid use among his officers.

And rightly so. The resulting investigation revealed that four officers were implicated with three losing pay and one resigning under circumstances never fully explained.

That four officers, a not insignificant total given the relatively small number who actually patrol the streets, felt compelled to either use or contemplate using steroids could very well reveal something deep-seated and disturbing in how some officers view their roles.

Aside from the legal, moral and ethical considerations involving officer conduct, also disturbing is the length of time it took to resolve the matter – approximately two years.

That would seem to be an awfully long time when, in reading the supporting material behind the investigation, the accused officers agreed to the essential facts of what occurred.

And while it goes without saying that accused officers have rights and those rights need to be protected, having a disciplinary process that takes this long ties up police resources and personnel better devoted to catching bad guys.

A cumbersome bureaucracy does the RCMP – and its officers – no favours and, in the end, erodes public confidence.

Editorial, The Terrace Standard, Sept. 3, 2014