What a proud and noble history for our men and women in red. They've graced the quarter and the $50 bill, and have stood as a stereotype of do-right law enforcement for almost 100 years. But unlike Toronto Police – who might finally be on the cusp of accepting responsibility for recent transgressions – the Mounties appear to have stalled on issues of accountability.
The latest example is another series of what would be considered fireable offences for the rest of us who are not charged with the serious and solemn duty of upholding the law. It's behaviour the RCMP's own discipline board determined to be “disgraceful.”
An Edmonton Mountie is charged with drinking on the job and having sex with a subordinate while at work. As CTV reports: “According to an agreed statement of facts, (the Staff Sergeant) had kept a bar fridge stocked with liquor in his office – and had regularly offered alcoholic beverages to subordinates. The statement also says he had sex with one subordinate in the RCMP polygraph suite, and also in an unmarked police car, the encounters reportedly dated back to 2006.”
There might have been a time when an officer would brag about his exploits at the station – keeping his "weapon" locked, loaded and ready to fire at the drop of a brown felt campaign hat. But the rest of the world has evolved. One would hope the RCMP could do the same. But this officer isn't being fired. He's received a demotion and a reprimand. Yes ... a reprimand.
You can't help but be reminded of George Costanza's question to his boss on Seinfeldwhen he is called out for having sex with the cleaning lady on his desk.
"Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell ya, I've gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon ..."
Yes, it's such a ridiculous question it's simply comedic. The only way any employee of any organization could possibly think they'd get away with that sort of behaviour is because they're aware of their work culture. And it's a work culture where employees believe their actions are immune to scrutiny.
The timing for this “disciplinary action” isn't good for law enforcement in Canada. The Toronto Police Service finallyappears to be taking steps to hold its employees accountable for actions during the G20, but one is still left with the impression that there is one set of rules, regulations and laws for police, and another for the rest of us. It's even more disgraceful that the people who are charged with enforcing the laws of this country often appear either unwilling or unable to do the same within their own ranks.