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Nelson police officers disciplined for 2020 workplace misconduct

Two of the three officers resigned from the force before the disciplinary hearing was completed
“The discipline authority highlighted that the conduct was premeditated, aimed at causing embarrassment, and occurred at the police station in full uniform,” states a report following a 2020 incident at the Nelson Police Department. File photo

Three members of the Nelson Police Department faced disciplinary actions following a series of inappropriate incidents in December 2020, according to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner’s 2022-2023 Annual Report.

In one incident, a member of the department referred to in the report as Member A entered a co-worker’s office wearing a medical mask over the front of their pants. The member then engaged in what the report describes as inappropriate physical contact with the back of the co-worker’s chair and posed for a picture.

The investigation by the OPCC determined that this behaviour constituted discreditable conduct. As a result, Member A received a three-day suspension without pay, a year of close supervision, and mandatory workplace harassment training.

“The Discipline Authority highlighted that the conduct was premeditated, aimed at causing embarrassment, and occurred at the police station in full uniform,” the report states.

In another incident involving Member A, the report describes “inappropriate sexualized conduct with Member C in front of co-workers.” This led to a violation of the respectful workplace policy, and both members received a two-day suspension without pay, a year of close supervision, and harassment training.

The OPCC is independent of police and government, and oversees complaints and investigations under the Police Act involving municipal police officers. Its annual report, a public document, was presented to the B.C. legislature in November.

These incidents occurred before Chief Donovan Fisher joined the department in March 2021.

A third member, referred to as Member B, was found to have violated the respectful workplace policy by taking “a photograph of Member A ridiculing a fellow member with inappropriate gestures. The photograph was shared in a group chat, which was later deleted.”

Member B accepted responsibility in a pre-hearing conference, expressing that they had learned a lesson and would not repeat the behaviour. Consequently, Member B received a one-day suspension without pay and mandatory training on the respectful workplace policy.

Members A and C did not accept pre-hearing conferences, leading to disciplinary hearings. Both members resigned from the department before the conclusion of the proceedings.

The report also contains decisions on officer misconduct from other municipal police forces around the province.

These disciplinary measures are not related to two other unresolved investigations into the Nelson Police Department — allegations of the sharing of racist comments in a group chat and an accusation that Sgt. Nathaniel Holt used excessive force in an incident in June 2021.


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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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