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RCMP commissioner pledges to rid force of 'bad apples'

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:20 am
by Thomas
RCMP commissioner pledges to rid force of 'bad apples'

Open letter to Canadians decries discipline system that limits ability to fire officers

The RCMP's disciplinary process is so bureaucratic and out of date that "bad apples" end up staying on the force long after they should be thrown out, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said in a remarkably frank open letter to Canadians on Monday.

Paulson, who has held the top job at the force for six months, pledged to work on modernizing the disciplinary process, which can now take years to resolve a case.

"I am trying to run a modern police force with a discipline system that was current 25 years ago," he writes. "Right now, this framework limits my ability to ensure our members' conduct is properly managed and corrected or, when necessary, to see to it that the bad apples are sent packing." The RCMP's current disciplinary process is enshrined in the RCMP Act.

Paulson's comments come as public confidence in the force has been badly shaken by damaging reports of disgraceful conduct by some officers — conduct that often went unpunished.

Six months ago, a CBC News investigation revealed allegations of a widespread culture of sexual harassment that allowed unacceptable behaviour to continue within the RCMP. Several current and former female officers in the force have since made similar allegations .

Last week, it was revealed that an RCMP Sgt. Don Ray in Edmonton was demoted and will be transferred to B.C. after he admitted to having sex with subordinates, drinking with them at work and sexually harassing them over a three-year period. Some wondered why the officer wasn't fired.

Paulson noted that "sometimes, [unacceptable] behaviour is met with punishment that just does not cut it."

More cases to come

In his open letter, Paulson says Canadians can expect to hear about more cases of unacceptable behaviour. "They are the inheritance of past behaviours and attitudes," he says.

Paulson also decried what he called the "administratively burdensome and bureaucratic decision-making process" that can see discipline cases tied up for years.

"It's unsatisfactory that we have to continue spending your tax dollars to pay individuals that don't deserve to be in the RCMP."

Paulson says he's started working on changing attitudes and behaviour at the force. "Since my appointment, I've clarified my expectations to my senior managers and all RCMP employees, and I have taken steps to address situations where I had the authority to do so."

But he acknowledges that "legislation alone is not enough to keep your trust," saying reforms must be guided by a commitment at each level of the RCMP to foster a respectful workplace.

"The challenges facing the RCMP are significant, but we will create a modern and even stronger organization that continues to make you proud," he pledges.

"The men and women of the RCMP are up to this challenge, and those you encounter deserve your respect and support."

Separate letter sent to RCMP members

Paulson also wrote to Mounties directly, specifically mentioning the disgraced Mountie Ray and calling his behaviour "outrageous."

An internal disciplinary board found Ray guilty of serial misconduct involving sexual harassment and drinking on the job. His punishment included losing a rank and 10 days pay and a transfer from Alberta to British Columbia.

“It is a sad stain on our reputation, and I understand the province of British Columbia’s concerns about his transfer,” Paulson wrote.

The commissioner says all future disciplinary transfers will be reviewed.

Paulson also warns Mounties that “if you, as a member, cannot conduct yourself professionally — as the professional police officer who has been entrusted with special powers over your fellow citizens — then I need you to leave this organization. I feel as though the organization is under threat right now, and my primary duty is to protect Canadians and to protect the RCMP.”

In his letter, Paulson notes: “The media are seeking and have obtained several records of decision in a number of recent and historical cases, as is their right. I expect salacious and troubling details of member misconduct to surface and be the source of much criticism of the force. Hang in there and try not to let these stories interfere with the tremendous work you do every day on behalf of Canadians.

“Some of these stories are historical, some are recent, and sadly some are not yet widely known.” ... viour.html

Re: RCMP commissioner pledges to rid force of 'bad apples'

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:40 am
by Thomas
Changes coming to allow RCMP chief to fire bad cops

OTTAWA - Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says legislation is coming to give RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson the hammer he needs to help stomp out sexual harassment on the force and weed out bad Mounties.

Paulson says his hands are tied when it comes to disciplining rogue cops because of antiquated rules that prohibit him from acting swiftly and decisively against those who tarnish the red serge.

Toews was reluctant to spell out the nature of the changes he hinted at Thursday at a Commons committee with Paulson at his side, except to say they will reach the floor of the Commons shortly.

"I don't want to get into the specifics of the legislation. You will see it very soon, but it will certainly go a long way in assisting the commissioner and his commanding officers in dealing with this particular problem," Toews said.

When he was named commissioner last November, Paulson said he would root out sexual harassment and change attitudes and behaviour within a force rocked by allegations unbecoming of a national police service.

He told MPs that because he can't appeal or impose tougher penalties on wayward cops, he could go to Federal Court, but has since learned that that route is expensive for taxpayers and unlikely to succeed.

He took the unusual step Monday of releasing an open letter to express his frustration at 25-year-old administrative hurdles that allow the worst offenders to remain on the force, or on paid suspension.

"Right now this framework limits my ability to ensure our members' conduct is properly managed and corrected or, when necessary to see that the bad apples are sent packing," he wrote.

He also warned Canadians to brace for more bad news he said "are the inheritance of past behaviours and attitudes."

Twitter:MarkDunnSun ... e-bad-cops

Re: RCMP commissioner pledges to rid force of 'bad apples'

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:40 am
by Thomas
RCMP must put cards on the table

In his unprecedented open letter to Canadians admitting his force now operated with a tarnished badge, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson confessed more ugly cases of disreputable behaviour by "rotten apples" in his storied outfit would soon be in the news.

After tipping his hand to this reality, Paulson should not wait for the media to sniff them out, or for more embarrassing leaks regarding sexual harassment, or worse, to make the headlines.

He should round up the internal case files of all those "rotten apples" -- whether historic or already underway -- and dump them en masse into the media's hands.

Get it out of the way.

Be proactive rather than reactive.

After admitting the antiquated RCMP Act prohibits him from outright firing those who bring the venerable red serge into disrepute, federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews got Paulson's back by promising new legislation to give him the disciplinary clout he needs to cull the force of bad seeds.

This is desperately needed.

When the Canadian public sees someone like RCMP Staff Sgt. Donald Ray getting docked one stripe in rank, and 10 day's pay, and then a transfer to another detachment for a long list of disgraceful conduct -- drinking on the job, sexual harassment, flashing his penis at a booze-addled female subordinate in an attempt to seduce her -- respect for the force takes another hit.

There is no win in letting it drag out.

Canadians do not need to hear Paulson say the "punishment" meted out to Ray -- to use the word loosely -- "just does not cut it." The fact he still has a job, and his pension is under no threat, says it all.

But what says more is the knowledge that, until the story leaked, Ray was literally smuggled out of his detachment in Edmonton and transferred to a detachment in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

What makes this so telling and so disgraceful is Ray's Lower Mainland posting is where allegations of sexual misconduct have already led to lawsuits against the force by female officers.

And into this they insert Don Ray?

Take our advice, commissioner. Make all those upcoming cases public, and get it over with.

Short-term pain for long-term gain. ... -the-table