Suspended Cop Sends Email To Department Thanking Them For The Paid Time Off
from the swiftly-voted-'Most-Punchable'-by-his-peers-and-non-peers dept
Police misconduct and abuse allegations are always greeted with defensive department statements about “thorough investigations” and “taking allegations seriously.” And yet, when it’s all said and done, very little has been done to prevent future abuse.
The most common outcome is a temporary reassignment. Sometimes there are suspensions, most of which are simply paid vacations. Even if a cop manages to get fired, his union will step up to try to get him his job back. In some cases, officers are allowed to resign rather than face firing — a move that ensures vacation, sick time and pensions are paid out.
The public is supposed to take these various levels of wrist-slapping very seriously. And law enforcement officers and agencies are supposed to make sure this illusion of accountability isn’t completely shattered. But one former officer of a Canadian police department has just stripped the veneer of respectability coating the law enforcement discipline process.
Back in 2011, Constable Craig Markham did all sorts of things a cop shouldn’t do.
On September 28, 2011, the Appellant [Craig Markham] received a text on his personal cell phone from A.S. inquiring about her common law partner, N.C., who had just been arrested and was in police custody facing serious drug related charges. N.C. was an acquaintance of the Appellant.
The Appellant accessed the Service’s internal records system as well as CPIC and searched out information regarding N.C. He then proceeded to the cells where N.C. was being held and had a discussion with him. After leaving N.C., the Appellant phoned a mutual acquaintance of theirs, E.C., and advised him that N.C. had been arrested. The Appellant again accessed the Service’s internal records, copied the synopsis form and the occurrence report pertaining to N.C.’s arrest to his Service email account, and emailed it to his personal email account. The next day the Appellant again accessed the Service’s system to inquire about E.C. and A.S
Markham was fired for passing confidential information to a member of the public. Or, rather, the Waterloo Police Service attempted to fire him. He appealed the decision, which resulted in three years of paid suspension while he waited for his case to be heard.
Markham was finally, officially fired for these violations early last year after his case was heard. No. Wait. He resigned because the Waterloo Police Service Board gave him this option.
The Hearing Officer gave the Appellant seven days to resign or he was to be terminated from all employment with the Service. The Appellant sought a lesser penalty.
You would think that being allowed a graceful exit and three years of fully-funded free time would be payment enough. But no, Markham had to rub it in. In what has to be one of the stupidest moves ever performed by a disgraced public servant, Markham sent an email to the department’s legal rep gloating about his paid time off. (via Information Liberation)
A former Waterloo Regional Police officer who was suspended with pay for three years sent an email to police thanking them for his continued salary while he sat at home, played golf, travelled and took a course to become a firefighter.
“I am very thankful and fortunate to have received such a nice gift from WRPS over the last three years. You have opened up other doors for me and have paid me to sit back and watch. What a dream come true,” Craig Markham wrote in an email on March 27 addressed to the police service’s solicitor.
Markham made over $90,000 a year pursuing his hobbies while his case was being appealed. He might have gotten away with it if he hadn’t felt compelled to apprise his former department of the details of his extended vacation. Unfortunately for him, his audaciously moronic move pissed off his former boss.
Police Chief Bryan Larkin presented the letter to members of the Region of Waterloo Police Services Board at a meeting last week.
“He (Markham) mocks what is supposed to be a fair and judicial system,” Larkin said in an interview.
“It sends a bad message to the community,” Larkin said.
“More importantly, it harms and takes away from the incredible work of the 760 officers who are out there everyday putting their lives at risk.”
Larkin is completely right. And every police department that allows (or is forced to by union contracts) its misbehaving officers to take paid vacations as “punishment” for wrongdoing is making the situation worse. Markham just exposed the system for what it really is: a great way to abuse the public’s trust and get paid for doing nothing.
Unbelievably, Markham is now trying to play the victim.
“I think it’s disgusting that Bryan Larkin released my email,” Markham told the meeting. “He is using me as a scapegoat.”
Whatever Larkin is using Markham for, it’s the first thing he’s earned in over three years. Markham claims the email was sent in a “moment of frustration,” but it’s rather difficult to square that with his boasts about using unearned paychecks to travel and play golf — the total of which approaches $350,000.
But despite his email’s jocular recounting of hobbies pursued and unearned money spent, Markham still maintains he’s still an upstanding dude.
“I’m not the taxpayer bandit,” Markham said. “It’s not like I came in during the middle of the night with a mask on and robbed the taxpayer.”
“It just sounds like I laid on the beach and drank pina coladas for three years.”
As for the first part? No, it’s actually worse. Markham robbed taxpayers behind their backs, collecting paychecks he hadn’t earned while fighting to reclaim a position he didn’t deserve. He abused the public’s trust and spent more than three years taking their money in exchange for nothing at all.
As for the last?
I can’t think of anyone else to blame for what this “sounds like.” If Markham doesn’t like being misrepresented by his own words, maybe he should have chosen them more carefully.
The only silver lining (beyond a possible overhaul of disciplinary policies in Waterloo) is the fact that only the province of Ontario allows its law enforcement officers to collect paychecks while suspended. If Markham had done the same thing anywhere else, he might have actually felt the sting of accountability. But he did it in Waterloo and managed to continue abusing the public’s trust even after exiting the field of public service.