Alberta: Calgary Police Want Police Act Reforms, Chief says

Update: see previous post – January 28, 2016 Ontario: At Least 50 Police Officers Suspended With Pay

For only the second time in 20 years, a Calgary police officer has been fired from the service after causing injuries to a cab driver in a high-speed chase.
For only the second time in 20 years, a Calgary police officer has been fired from the service after causing injuries to a cab driver in a high-speed chase. (CBC)

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Sgt. Anthony Braile was suspended with pay for more than 6 years while awaiting ruling

A former Calgary police sergeant who was suspended with pay following an incident in 2008 collected more than $600,000 before he was fired — thanks in part to the “draconian” processes needed to handle personnel issues in the force.

Sgt. Anthony Braile was dismissed by the service last week after admitting to nine counts of professional misconduct. He was also found to have committed several Police Service Regulation offences.

Calgary police chief Roger Chaffin said his force is now working to update the Police Act, which is the legislation governing policing the in the province.

“When a member is accused of misconduct under the act, a very specific process starts to kick in,” Chaffin told reporters on Wednesday.

“That process, particularly in very serious matters like the one that was before us, can be extremely long and litigious.”

In December 2008, Braile was responsible for initiating a high-speed chase that was contrary to police policy that resulted in a cab driver being seriously injured. He was suspended with pay following the incident and ultimately pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving under the Traffic Safety Act in 2013.

Chaffin called the length of time between the initial incident and Braile’s dismissal “unreasonable.”

“I look at comments that the media has had and the public has had, and you’ll find policing agrees,” he said. “We actually also find the time delays unreasonable and not serving the interests of the employees, not serving the interest of the public and not serving the interests of policing.”

As a Level II sergeant within the police force, Braile would have collected between $111,072 and $114,400 a year plus benefits.

Changes needed

Chaffin acknowledged the importance of due process for disciplinary issues, but said that process is simply too long, adding that the length of time it takes for police to investigate serious allegations of misconduct “draconian.”

“These are features of policing that are probably out of sync with contemporary society,” Chaffin said, pointing to investigations by ASIRT — the police watchdog — that often last a year or more.

“These are things that we need to fix in this province,” he said. “We need to fix it for the community, we need to fix it for our membership and we need to fix it for the relevance of policing.”

Chaffin said police are working with the system they have and are trying to find better ways to move through it. He has also slightly reorganized service to allow one area to focus on how to address reforms to the Police Act.

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