Edmonton police officer disciplined for off-duty drunk driving

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An Edmonton police officer who drove drunk has been handed an internal reprimand — the fourth officer to be disciplined for impaired driving in the past six months.

The unnamed officer — identified as Const. A.B. in a disciplinary decision released Friday — was given an immediate roadside suspension and had his vehicle impounded for 30 days after a St. Albert RCMP officer pulled him over while off-duty early June 5, 2022.

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The 15-year EPS veteran had been the subject of a 911 call after another motorist began tailing his Ford Escape, which was driving erratically near St. Albert Trail and Campbell Road. The vehicle ran a red light, had its turn signal on despite not changing lanes and was “travelling in the middle of the road between lanes at 20 km/h,” the decision states.

The officer appeared glassy-eyed and was slurring his speech once pulled over. He was charged under the Traffic Safety Act and handed a 90-day licence suspension, plus a year with an ignition interlock and a $1,000 fine. The officer was also ordered to take a “planning ahead” course.

Chief Dale McFee later charged A.B. with discreditable conduct, an offence under the Police Act. He admitted to the charge at a hearing May 22.

Lawyers for McFee and the officer agreed a formal, five-year reprimand is an appropriate punishment. They noted the officer immediately informed his superior, was placed on administrative duties and sought counselling. He also completed over 60 hours of community service.

The lawyers said a monetary penalty was unnecessary because the officer already took a $20,000 financial “hit” through towing costs, impound and rental fees, and an annual insurance premium increase of $5,000.

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‘Lighter side of penalties’

Presiding officer Fred Kamins — a retired RCMP chief superintendent who acts as judge in disciplinary hearings — accepted the joint submission. He said case law requires him to accept joint submissions unless he believes the proposed punishment is “inappropriate or offensive to the carriage of justice.”

“The chief has taken the stance that a remedial approach is appropriate in this case,” he wrote. “The officer’s co-operation, attitude and volunteer work speak to the desirability of a restorative approach versus the usual suspension without pay penalty.”

He added the suspension was on the “lighter side of penalties that I might usually impose.”

Edmonton police disciplinary decisions typically do not identify officers who receive reprimands. Officers are only identified when they are docked pay, demoted or dismissed from the force.

The decision comes after a trio of verdicts released in December involving officers who drove drunk. They include Const. Natasha Green, who in 2022 admitted to a criminal charge of operating a vehicle over the .08 blood alcohol limit. She was given a reprimand after pleading guilty to discreditable conduct.

Const. Dennis Rix was also given a five-year reprimand while Const. Adam Donnelly was handed a 40-hour suspension without pay, amounting to $2,218 in lost wages.

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