April 1, 2014 - 5:23pmUpdated: April 2, 2014 - 9:16am
Regina Police Chief Troy Hagen file photo April 2014. Kevin Martel/CJME
A member of the Regina Police Service (RPS) has been taken off the streets because of allegations over the inappropriate use of video surveillance.
The RPS confirmed Tuesday that a senior officer has been accused of discreditable conduct and neglect of duty. While he isn't subject to a criminal investigation, the officer in question has been placed on administrative leave until the issue can be cleared up.
It all started when Andrea MacMurray started asking questions about the Regina Optimist Dolphin Swim Club's finances. Her two girls were members; she was asked to pay about $1,050 a month in fees. MacMurray claimed she hadn’t seen any financial statements for the club in months and had been told it was too difficult for the club to present those documents when she asked for them.
She wanted clarification, so back on Nov. 18 she went to the Cornwall Centre to fax the club’s auditor, claiming she felt more comfortable going that route than asking the club directly.
“The reason why I don’t come to them is because the climate is such that you ask the wrong questions, you are not going to be received very well,” she explained. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong asking for details from an auditor.”
A short time later senior staff from the club sat down with MacMurray and told her that they had seen surveillance video of her sending the fax. She claimed staff told her she was going to regret what she had done, and she and her daughters were kicked out of the club.
“What is the reasoning for them to kick me out? To set an example, that you don’t question the board? That you don’t question what we are doing? I don’t know,” she said.
“I feel very, very sad for my daughter, for my older daughter, because she really wants to go back to swimming,” MacMurray said.
MacMurray felt that her privacy had been invaded. After being ejected from the club she went to mall security for answers. She said she was told that the police had requested the video. She then went to the Privacy Commissioner, who told her the same thing.
At that point MacMurray launched a complaint with Saskatchewan’s Public Complaints Commission (PCC), an oversight committee created by the provincial government to ensure complaints against the police are properly investigated and assessed.
The RPS took the unusual step Tuesday of revealing that it received a report from the PCC. The commission's findings aren't made public and Troy Hagen, the chief of the Regina Police Service, insisted that complaints usually aren't discussed publicly unless they result in criminal charges. That hasn't happened.
"This member has not been charged," Hagen stressed.
Because the story has already emerged through the media, however, he decided to reveal that the member who has been accused of misusing the video has been placed on administrative leave. Hagen pledged to review the incident before determining if any further action will be taken.
"These things take time. I take all of these matters very seriously."
The Dolphins Swim Club has declined to comment on the matter. They sent a written statement to media outlets, which can be viewed below.