Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lead feet of the off duty law, gets Prince George officers in hot water...

An incident that took place on the highways of Prince George in May has just become public and with the time delay comes a number of questions for the RCMP in Prince George. That after North District command announced the punishment for three members of the detachment for highway offences while off duty.

The handling of the case has raised a few eyebrows in Prince George amid suggestions that special treatment may have been taken in the case, a suggestion that the North District has denied. And the timing of the Prince George incident once again raises the question of who should hold the police accountable in the province.

The three constables,described as junior members and all off duty from the Prince George detachment, were riding motorcycles on May 15th when they were spotted by a member of the RCMP's highway patrol, driving in what she felt was an unsafe manner.

The officer in the patrol car engaged her emergency flashing lights and siren but was quickly outpaced by the trio on motorcycles, deciding not to engage them in a chase, she instead radioed ahead and the three were pulled over further down the highway by other responding units.

According to the Prince George website Opinion 250, there were no tickets issued at the time of the incident as the attending officers consulted with North District superiors on how best to handle the situation. From there the Crown was consulted and the case was returned to the RCMP to be handled by the North District RCMP.

The three motorcyclists were then issued their tickets and further suspended from driving for four months, a suspension that took effect on June 26th. They were re-assigned to other duties not requiring a driver's licence for the duration of their suspension.

The three were charged with the following,

...Excessive speeding ( 40km or more over the limit)

...Driving without reasonable consideration for safety of others on the highway

...Failing to stop for police

The way that the three cases have evolved will no doubt be an item of interest to anyone who has ever been assigned a traffic ticket, with many thinking that there may be two rules of the road after all.

There will be a further internal review of the case by North District and perhaps further disciplinary action may be in the future, perhaps a further restriction of duties requiring vehicular movement might best send a message that their behaviour was wrong.

Maybe having the three walk a beat in downtown Prince George through the fall and into February, might prove to be helpful in reminding them that the ability to drive is a responsibility and one that must be treated in a respectful manner.

Opinion 250-- Three Officers Facing MVA Charges Got No Special Treatment
Opinion 250-- Lets Have Some Questions Answered
Opinion 250-- RCMP Offer Version of Events With Three Off Duty Officers
Prince George Free Press-- Three licenses lost

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