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OPCC complaint files include officer who stalked ex-partner, another who took gun on holiday

The cases represent just two of the more than 1,500 files the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner looked into

A Saanich police officer was fired for stalking a former partner in 2021 and another was suspended after taking a department-issued gun on vacation in 2022.

The cases represent two of the more than 1,500 files the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner looked into, according to its 2022-2023 annual report.

The Saanich officer whose unwanted contact with a former partner led to his dismissal also used police databases to make 92 unauthorized queries over four years on the former partner and members of her family, according to the OPCC, which called his conduct “egregiously serious.”

The officer admitted to making unauthorized searches on his former partner, but denied ­looking up ­family members, ­according to an OPCC report.

An investigation showed he queried the partner’s name more than once, along with that of her teenage son, and 13 other people related to the former partner.

The partner had made it clear after their four-year relationship that she wanted no further contact with the officer, but in the year ­following the breakup, she and her family repeatedly saw him driving near her home.

The discipline authority determined firing the officer was the appropriate course of action, because “anything other than dismissal would bring the administration of police discipline into disrepute and [would be] contrary to the public interest.”

The officer retired before he was fired, but his service record reflects the dismissal.

Another Saanich officer was investigated after taking a gun issued by the department on vacation. That officer was suspended for three days without pay.

Six files involved Victoria police officers, including an officer with a police service dog who was reassigned after the dog bit a member of the public on the hand and the hip when there was no reason to deploy the dog, and an officer who received a three-day immediate driving suspension after giving a breath sample that showed a “warn” reading while off duty.

The latter officer told RCMP at an impaired driving roadblock that their last drink had been a glass of wine the day before.

Another Victoria police officer was reprimanded for negligently firing a handgun during a training exercise.

The officer mistakenly believed the gun was a training firearm loaded with non-lethal rounds. No one was injured in the incident, which took place in a training ­facility.

Another file involved a Victoria police officer suspended without pay for 30 days for a 2018 off-duty sexual encounter in Vancouver that led to a public hearing in 2021.

The officer was found to have committed discreditable conduct when he had a sexual encounter with a woman who was not “an equal and consenting participant,” according to the former judge who adjudicated the public hearing.

Other files in the annual review include a Central Saanich officer whose rank was reduced for making inappropriate comments and sexual gestures toward a junior colleague, and an Oak Bay officer who received a written reprimand for taking breaks longer than allowed by department policy.

The annual review included files involving serious-harm ­investigations and internal discipline, but the majority are complaints about police from the public. The number of files was down slightly from the previous year, with nine fewer files opened.

The OPCC received 706 complaints about police from the public, down 25 from the year before. It assigned 256 police complaints to investigation or resolution.

The OPCC is an independent civilian agency that oversees complaints and investigations involving municipal police in B.C.

Investigations are conducted by police departments, typically by the department where the officer under investigation works, but the OPCC can appoint an external police agency to investigate.

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