Calgary Police Commission Review of Police Officer Codes of Conduct by sdaferv

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									CALGARY POLICE COMMISSION
REVIEW OF POLICE OFFICER CODES OF CONDUCT

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. The Code of Conduct for Calgary police officers will contain specific reference to the
   Calgary Police Service core values of integrity, honesty, respect, ethics,
   compassion, courage, fairness and commitment to the community by including a
   values statement in the conduct portion of the Calgary Police Service Policy and
   Procedure Manual.

2. The Calgary Police Service code of conduct will be amended to clarify that the
   standards expressed therein apply whether the officer is on or off-duty, subject to the
   context of the specific circumstances.

3. The Calgary Police Commission believes that legal behaviour should remain outside
   the scope of the Calgary Police Service code of conduct unless it falls within the
   purview of “discreditable conduct” as defined in practice and articulated by the courts
   and tribunals.

4. The Calgary Police Service is directed to report by 2000 September on the steps
   taken to annually reinforce the Service’s core values and code of conduct with all
   serving members and recruits.


REVIEW     FINDINGS:

The Policy and Priorities Committee reviewed: codes of conduct from nine (9) Canadian
police services1; relevant case law; selected literature regarding police officer codes of
conduct; the Calgary Police Service Code of Conduct and Calgary Police Commission
Policy 3.7 - Code of Conduct. The Committee also noted that the Canadian Association
of Police Chiefs is currently conducting a review of its own Code of Ethics with a view
to updating it and providing a model for police services across the country. The
Commission looks forward to the results of that endeavor and will consider it again
when finalized to see if the CPS has met or exceeded the standards set out.

Frequently, Canadian courts have acknowledged that police officers are held to a higher
standard of conduct than other citizens and that the Chief Constable must have the
power to correct and discipline a police officer who, through his or her behaviour, brings
discredit to the reputation of the police service. Notwithstanding this, it is clear that
police officers, like other employees, are entitled to some measure of freedom in the
conduct of their private lives.




1
    Vancouver, Victoria, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Brandon, Toronto and Peel Regional.

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CALGARY POLICE COMMISSION
REVIEW OF POLICE OFFICER CODES OF CONDUCT

There is uncertainty among authorities about the distinction between when police
officers are considered to be on-duty or off-duty.2 This is complicated by the fact that
many authorities have held that a police officer who is off duty may, by exercising his or
her powers as a police officer, place himself or herself on-duty or indeed be required to
do so in certain cases. For instance, if an off-duty police officer observes a crime in
progress and or intervenes to address the situation, the police officer has effectively
placed him or her self on-duty.


CALGARY POLICE SERVICE CODE OF CONDUCT

The current CPS code of conduct reflects the core values of the organization: integrity,
honesty, respect, courage, fairness, compassion and commitment to the community. It
addresses police officers’ conduct with regard to secondary employment and
specifically refers to off-duty conduct in two instances:

[A police officer should]3:

q     be cognizant of the fact that a police officer, whether on-duty or off-duty, is
      continually under the scrutiny of the community, and that the community expects a
      high standard of conduct from its police officers; [and]

q     pay lawful debts as required.


Other provisions of the CPS code of conduct may be applied to on-duty as well as off-
duty conduct:

[Police officers are required to]:

q     respect any information concerning the identity of an informant, for which
      confidentiality was guaranteed, or can reasonably be expected;

q     respect the confidentiality of any information obtained through the course of duty;

q     avoid situations which could present a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a
      conflict of interest, and situations which could affect one’s ability to act objectively;

q     not use his [or her] position to obtain a special favour, consideration or gratuity of
      any kind;

2
    Ceyssens, P. Legal Aspects of Policing (1994) Earlscourt Press: British Columbia p. 6-1.
3
    All excerpts taken from : Part 10, Chapter J, Sections 1, 2 and 3.

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CALGARY POLICE COMMISSION
REVIEW OF POLICE OFFICER CODES OF CONDUCT

q   when making a statement, or when involved in public activities, clarify whether one is
    speaking as a private citizen, a police officer of a specific group or organization, or
    as a police officer of the Police Service; and

q   act quickly to clarify any falsehood, rumour, or distortion made about the Service, or
    any of its police officers.

Members of the Calgary Police Service are expected to conduct themselves with the
values of the CPS in mind at all times. An ethics component has been included in the
recruit training curriculum and values-based decision making and ethics have also been
integrated into the in-service education program for all CPS members.

POLICE OFFICER CODES OF CONDUCT IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS

Police officers’ codes of conduct in Canada reflect the following commonalities:

q   Most police services have broad oath statements wherein officers pledge to conduct
    their private and professional lives in an exemplary manner.

q   Enforcement of discipline is based in provincial police legislation and off-duty
    conduct is subject to discipline when a connection can be established between the
    officer’s conduct and his or her position as a law enforcement officer.

q   An off-duty police officer who asserts his or her authority as a police officer subjects
    himself or herself to the possibility of discipline if a code of conduct is transgressed
    or provincial statute is violated.

q   Lawful behaviours are considered beyond the purview of the disciplinary regulations;
    however, regulatory statutes in most jurisdictions contain a general provision
    prohibiting police officers from engaging in behaviour that may bring discredit to the
    reputation of a police service.

q   Off-duty conduct that is most often the subject of scrutiny and discipline is illegal in
    nature, that is criminal or a violation of a statute.

CONDUCT THAT MAY BE ADDRESSED BY AN OFF-DUTY CODE OF CONDUCT AND POSSIBLE
SANCTIONS SHOULD THE CODE BE TRANSGRESSED.

Under the Police Service Regulation (PSR) A.R. 356/90, a police officer in Alberta can
be disciplined for off-duty behaviour when a connection has been established between
the officer’s off-duty actions and his or her position as a law enforcement officer.
Statutory definitions of specific regulatory offences make the connection to an officer’s
employment self evident. For example, to sustain a charge of breach of confidence, it
must be established that the police officer divulged information it was his or her duty to
maintain as confidential.
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CALGARY POLICE COMMISSION
REVIEW OF POLICE OFFICER CODES OF CONDUCT

Off-duty behaviour may be characterized as criminal, potentially criminal, disreputable
and legal. Police officers who are accused of criminal behaviour will have to answer for
their actions both in criminal court and in the disciplinary process when it is related to
his or her position.

An officer can also be disciplined for off-duty behaviour that is discreditable: “doing
anything prejudicial or likely to bring discredit on the reputation of the police service.”4
Because the types of behaviour governed by this section are less easily defined,
prescriptive policy statements are difficult to formulate. It would be impossible to
compile a list of prohibited on-duty and off-duty behaviours that would contemplate
every conceivable circumstance a police officer may face. For example, a code of
conduct could prohibit association with anyone with a criminal record. This statement
appears clear and simple but such a policy could pose difficulties for an officer if a
member of his or her family is convicted of a crime. Additionally, compliance with such a
prohibition could conceivably place a police officer in the untenable position of having to
determine whether any of his or her acquaintances have a criminal record.

Establishing the nature of the connection between discreditable behaviour and a police
officer’s position was considered in the Lingl5 decision of Alberta’s Law Enforcement
Review Board (LERB). In Lingl, the LERB confirmed that a police officer’s off-duty
conduct may be reviewed and the officer be subject to discipline when one of the
following conditions are met:


q    Where the conduct of the officer harms the reputation or credibility of the Police
     Service.

q    Where the officer’s behaviour renders him or her unable to perform his or her duties
     in a satisfactory manner.

q    Where the officer’s behaviour leads to refusal, reluctance or inability of other officers
     or employees to work with the officer.

q    Where the officer has contravened the law in a manner that renders his or her
     conduct injurious to the reputation of the service and its members.

q    Where the officer’s conduct places difficulty in the way of the service to properly
     carry out its functions and effectively manage its work or effectively direct its work
     force.6
4
    PSR s. 5(2)(e)(viii)

5
    Lingl v. Calgary Police Service [1993], A.L.E.R.B. 128.
6
    Lingl, p. 143.

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CALGARY POLICE COMMISSION
REVIEW OF POLICE OFFICER CODES OF CONDUCT

Application of these criteria to a specific circumstance must also include consideration
of the following:

q   Must the police service establish discredit or prejudice to its reputation or can it be
    presumed?

q   How is the effect of the act or behaviour upon police service discipline measured?

q   Must the effect be measured throughout the police service, or is a demonstrable
    effect on the area the police officer was assigned sufficient to make a charge?

q   Are police officers on unpaid standby duty (as opposed to being off-duty) considered
    to be on or off-duty?


CONCLUSION:

FEASIBILITY OF AMENDING THE CURRENT CALGARY CODE OF CONDUCT TO CLEARLY              COVER
OFF-DUTY CONDUCT FOR SWORN MEMBERS OF THE CALGARY POLICE SERVICE.

The behaviour of police officers is governed by the CPS code of conduct and the
provisions of the Police Act and Police Service Regulation. Police officers, like any other
citizen, are entitled to expect a private life free from interference by their employers;
however, the police service and the community have expectations that police officers
will conduct themselves in an exemplary fashion whether on-duty or off. This higher
standard of behaviour is necessary to preserve the integrity of the police service and
any code of conduct for police officers must balance the needs of officers for freedom in
their personal lives with the community’s expectations for their behaviour.

It is impossible to prescribe an acceptable level of behaviour for every conceivable
circumstance that a police officer may encounter. For this reason, most codes of
conduct, including the CPS’s, employ broad, general statements as guidelines for police
officers. Clearly, training and ongoing reinforcement is imperative.

The committee is satisfied that the Calgary Police Service’s code of conduct, with the
indicated amendments, will adequately govern a police officer’s off-duty conduct. The
code properly focusses on illegal behaviour or behaviour that discredits the Calgary
Police Service as violations of the Service’s core organizational values. Changes to the
CPS code of conduct could not have prevented the tragic and senseless accident of
June 19, 1999 but, in the wake of such a painful event, every member of the Police
Service must be reminded of the community’s expectations for their conduct.




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