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Short-staffed RCMP look at lifting ban on recruits with criminal records

Humphrey Bogart

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
All I can say is 'thank f#$@" some folks didn't just think 'criminal record' and write me off back in 1978 and 1989.  I think I did very right by both the CAF and Ontario Corrections.  I guess today the computer scanner would just read that and move my application to the delete side.......

Bruce, I think you hit the nail on the head here.

A lot of people can forget that a criminal record can mean a lot of things.  When people think "criminal" they often think of the worst cases.

Whereas many people have criminal records for a variety of things like getting in a bar fight when your 20 or getting charged with assault or getting a DUI. 

These things should not automatically disqualify someone from service in the police force or the military in particular. Nor should people be continuously punished for a mistake they made long ago. 

Police don't deal with angels and having a bit of an umpolished history is probably advantageous in a lot of ways.
 

brihard

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A criminal record does not automatically mean someone will never get hired. It simple means they will be expected to get a criminal record suspension (pardon) first. It’s a criteria to ensure that someone who has done something considerably dumb has gotten their behaviour in order for some time before they become eligible.

For a police officer, credibility in court is key, and is a bona fide occupational requirement. A police officer’s criminal and disciplinary record is disclosable to defense in court proceedings where the officer is involved in an investigation. It is reasonable and necessary to ensure that anyone hired doesn’t carry any recent baggage that could be detrimental to the success of criminal prosecutions that officer may be involved in.

Yes, good people screw up, some badly enough that they get criminal records. In such cases the mechanism exists after enough time has passed to have those records suspended, and which point the record is not a consideration for employment purposes per human rights law. It’s straightforward enough.
 

dapaterson

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Brihard said:
For a police officer, credibility in court is key, and is a boba fife occupational requirement.


Boba_Fett_HS_Fathead.png
   
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Good2Golf

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Brihard said:
Hah, stupid autocorrect. No musical Mandalorians here.

Hmmmm...not buying it.  Autocorrect is based on a device user’s history.  I think Brihard has been diving into some pretty dark corners of the Interwebz.  ;D
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=Brihard]

For a police officer, credibility in court is key, and is a bona fide occupational requirement. A police officer’s criminal and disciplinary record is disclosable to defense in court proceedings where the officer is involved in an investigation. It is reasonable and necessary to ensure that anyone hired doesn’t carry any recent baggage that could be detrimental to the success of criminal prosecutions that officer may be involved in.


[/quote]

Could you give an example or two about how an officers criminal or disciplinary record might be detrimental to court proceedings?
 

JesseWZ

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Jarnhamar said:
Could you give an example or two about how an officers criminal or disciplinary record might be detrimental to court proceedings?

Hard to justify investigating an offense if you've been found guilty of the same offense in the past. The disclosure of that information is called a McNeil report. ( R V McNeil https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/6614/index.do).  It should contain any criminal or disciplinary records/actions taken against an officer. 

It's a credibility hit and allows the defense to attack ones character and judgement. It's a lot more preferable on the stand to be testifying to the file than testifying to your character and judgement.

As well, as a cop, if a judge makes an adverse finding about your credibility it can be bad news bears for you.
 

daftandbarmy

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JesseWZ said:
Hard to justify investigating an offense if you've been found guilty of the same offense in the past. The disclosure of that information is called a McNeil report. ( R V McNeil https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/6614/index.do).  It should contain any criminal or disciplinary records/actions taken against an officer. 

It's a credibility hit and allows the defense to attack ones character and judgement. It's a lot more preferable on the stand to be testifying to the file than testifying to your character and judgement.

As well, as a cop, if a judge makes an adverse finding about your credibility it can be bad news bears for you.

On the other hand, the Military Justice System has alot of people administering punishments who, themselves, were found guilty of similar past indiscretions.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Jarnhamar

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So if someone were charged and found guilty of a DUI and they became a police officer and arrested someone for DUI the defense could say "well you've committed a DUI in the past" and the offender could potentially walk away?

If someone commits a crime I don't 100% understand how the officers character would come into play unless it's matter of honesty.  If someone breaks the law then they break the law regardless if the officer is an asshole or not? Or would the defense use it as an in to suggest the cop was lying/misleading - but then wouldn't that only be if they were guilty of lying/misleading? 

daftandbarmy said:
On the other hand, the Military Justice System has alot of people administering punishments who, themselves, were found guilty of similar past indiscretions.

That's what I'm alluding to.
I've been AWOL but that doesn't mean that I'm not credible when I catch someone else being AWOL.



[Asking because the RCMP/CFNIS/LEO seems super interesting]
 

Jarnhamar

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Humphrey Bogart said:
I would be interested to hear about this as well.

Because then I see gongshows like this:

https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news-story/9061070-critics-decry-lack-of-transparency-around-police-shooting-in-pelham/

With Officer A (who had an extremely checkered history) getting shot by Officer B.

I was actually thinking of that exact case when I asked. The officer who was shot was described as a monster and has a long history of disciplinary actions against him for violent behavior (like beating a handcuffed suspect). THAT'S gotta come up in court, no?
 

Haggis

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Jarnhamar said:
I've been AWOL but that doesn't mean that I'm not credible when I catch someone else being AWOL.
That's true.  COs and OCs know who the solid and credible NCMs are in their units/sub-units, those who, despite their younger histories, would not lay a frivolous charge on the CO/OC's desk.

What D&B was alluding to was that the delegated or commanding officer hearing the charge of, say drunkenness, may have been found guilty of exactly that in his younger years.  Does that make it fair?  In the eyes of the accused, no. If a member is treated fairly (and the presiding officer has to swear an oath to do so) that's the important thing.  But I've always been a firm believer that the the summary trial process at the unit/sub-unit level isn't as much about justice as it is about discipline. 
 

Journeyman

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Questioning someone's credibility for having been convicted of a similar offence seems to toss out the entire concept of rehabilitation.  We say that punishment is about ensuring that the lesson has been learned so that no similar transgression will occur, but to continue holding it over someone looks more like vengeance than rehabilitation.

Mind you, given his repeated offences, "Officer A" should have been punted ages ago; that he continued to serve is a massive "WTF!!"
 

brihard

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Many of the issues you guys bring up is precisely why the pardon/record suspension system exists. Having. Criminal record is not an inherent “ruled out”. Having one without a record suspension is. It’s a very reasonable balance, and one compliant with employment law.

The case of R. v. MacNeil was quoted earlier- that’a an important one. Any accused criminal has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Officer credibility absolutely comes into play there, this is long recognized in the courts, and it ain’t going away.

I share the concerns raised about certain cases. It can be very hard for police services to fire the guys who are real screwups. Some of this I attribute to the same problems the military has in documenting and following up on behavioral and conduct issues... Supervisors gotta have the stones to act like NCOs sometimes.


 

Haggis

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Brihard said:
Many of the issues you guys bring up is precisely why the pardon/record suspension system exists. Having. Criminal record is not an inherent “ruled out”. Having one without a record suspension is. It’s a very reasonable balance, and one compliant with employment law.

The standard question allowed under employment law and backed by the Criminal Records Act is "Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence for which a pardon/record suspension has not been granted?" One friend, having answered honestly with "no", knowing he did not have to disclose such a conviction, he was then asked "Have you ever been arrested or detained, whether charged or not, by any law enforcement agency/police service anywhere in the world?"

"Yes"

"Who arrested you?"

"XXXX Police."

"Were you charged?"

"Yes"

"With what?"

He refused to answer because he'd received a pardon and was then disqualified from the hiring process for a very well paying tech job for "not being forthcoming during the interview".

Brihard said:
I share the concerns raised about certain cases. It can be very hard for police services to fire the guys who are real screwups. Some of this I attribute to the same problems the military has in documenting and following up on behavioral and conduct issues... Supervisors gotta have the stones to act like NCOs sometimes.
  I've seen this a few times in the Public Service as a CAF supervisor trying to get a civilian employee dealt with through the discipline process as well as an LEO.  Often the union will support management.  Sometimes the union will fight, not for the member, but against management on principle.
 

daftandbarmy

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Haggis said:
What D&B was alluding to was that the delegated or commanding officer hearing the charge of, say drunkenness, may have been found guilty of exactly that in his younger years. 

Nothing like an experienced NCO who hands you something to bite on during a well earned flogging :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KQ9mAuI1Ro



 
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