A West Vancouver Police Department constable has been reprimanded after photos of a civilian woman wearing his gun belt appeared online.
The accusation and punishment came to light in the recently released third-quarter report from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, the provincial agency in charge of investigating misbehaviour among municipal police officers.
“It was reported that the member allowed a member of the public to wear aspects of his uniform and have pictures taken, which were then posted to a social media site,” the report states.
Specifically, the officer’s misconduct is listed as “improper use or care of firearms.”
The incident took place sometime in 2012 at a District of West Vancouver-owned facility with a civilian woman connected to the police department, according to Rollie Woods, deputy police complaint commissioner.
“The stupid thing was that he allowed it to happen in the first place,” said Woods. “And the really stupid thing was that he posted it on Facebook so it appeared in a stupid way.”
By way of discipline, the report states the officer was advised against the behaviour and ordered to take additional training, which will stay on his professional service record for three years.
Despite that reprimand, and another minor one for an officer who made disparaging remarks about a fellow officer to a member of the public, the OPCC receives very few complaints about the West Vancouver Police Department these days, Woods said. That’s something he attributes to changes in leadership in recent years.
“You can see the drastic change in the numbers of complaints and the way they are dealt with, and the members’ conduct seems to be improving, probably because of an emphasis of preventing complaints in the first place,” Woods said.
While the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has had to quickly adapt to the growing use of social media by police officers and the different types of complaints that result, the existing regulations around misconduct have not had to change to address the problem, Woods said.