By Nicole Halloran
After being charged for driving under the influence, Halifax police officers receive their full pay for their 60 day suspension.
In the past three months, three Halifax police officers have been charged for driving under the influence.
Constable Brian Palmeter, public information officer for the Halifax Regional Police, said the pay comes as part of a contract obligation that says the officers are entitled to their base salary for a minimum of the 60 day suspension period.
“It’s a case-by-case decision,” said Palmeter over the phone. “The chief can revisit each case after 60 days and if whether or not the person will continue being paid.”
Susan MacAskill, the atlantic regional spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the organization would have no comment on the 60 day pay period. The decisions are made internally and she hopes the people in charge will make a fair and appropriate decision on the individual cases.
Constable Palmeter said cases of impairment are all treated equally and police officers receive no additional charges or punishment.
“You can’t have two sets of rules for different people. The rules are in place. In this case, the law’s under the Criminal Code of Canada and at this point we’ve laid the charges and it’s up to the court to determine, if a guilty verdict is found, what an appropriate sentence would be,” said Constable Palmeter.
MacAskill doesn’t think the recent events are a problem with the police, but believes they are a problem with the individual officers who have made the decision to drive impaired.
“We have considered that every impaired driving charge has to do with the individuals themselves. We don’t paint everyone with the same brush,” said MacAskill.
Palmeter added that the Halifax Regional Police acknowledge that the public is “frustrated and disappointed” in the recent charges, but hopes citizens recognize the police take these matters seriously.
“There’s two ways to look at this. I mean, certainly we expect that our officers conduct themselves above reproach. We know that the citizens expect that from us, but like any business, like any agency, there are going to be times when we have officers make mistakes and they have to be held accountable,” said Constable Palmeter.
MacAskill said MADD is waiting for the outcome of the court proceedings and hopes that each officer will be given an appropriate sentence if they’re found guilty of their charges.
Constable Jennifer McPhee, who was charged on Feb. 19 will be in provincial court on March 20.
Susan MacAskill discusses the recent cases of Halifax police officers charged with driving under the influence