Lethbridge, Alberta – Three members of the Lethbridge Police Service pled guilty to misconduct charges during a disciplinary hearing Tuesday, but the decision on sanctions has been adjourned.
Proceedings were also adjourned for two remaining officers charged in the matter. Both indicated they plan to resign which would result in a loss of jurisdiction.
On Nov. 2, 2021 three officers pled guilty under the Police Act and Police Service Regulation to counts of misconduct including discreditable conduct, insubordination and neglect of duty in relation to a matter from 2018, where a private chat group was created in a messaging app and texts and memes were distributed to LPS officers within the group. The communications, which were found to be offensive and against LPS policies, were described in an agreed statement of facts as “profane, abusive and insulting” and targeted the LPS Executive, other officers and society in general.
Following an internal complaint the matter was referred to an outside agency for investigation and LPS received the findings in late December 2020. After a thorough review, outside legal counsel was retained to prosecute the officers on misconduct charges.
Police conduct in Alberta is governed by the Criminal Code of Canada and Alberta’s Police Act and Police Service Regulation. There is a range of potential disciplinary outcomes in cases of misconduct, including changes to policy and training, reprimand, demotion, pay deductions, suspension and dismissal.
A joint submission proposing a demotion within rank for one year was put forward for two of the three officers, who both entered guilty pleas on two counts of discreditable conduct and one count each of insubordination and neglect of duty. The presiding officer reserved his decision until Dec. 16. Two other counts were withdrawn.
The third officer, pled guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct, one count of insubordination, one count of neglect of duty and not guilty to one further count of discreditable conduct. Those proceedings were adjourned to Dec. 15, where evidence will be heard in the contested count and facts will be entered in relation to the guilty pleas. Two other counts were withdrawn.
Matters for the remaining two officers, who were not present at the hearing and intend to resign, were adjourned to Feb. 3, 2022 to allow time for that process to be completed.
In order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing process, the LPS is not able to provide further comment at this time.
Once all the matters have been concluded, police will be available to comment and an update outlining the sanctions will also be provided to the public on the LPS website under Professional Standards.
Lethbridge Police Service
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