Conduct Case MPCC‑2017‑004 Summary

The complainant was charged with drug-impaired driving under the Criminal Code following an incident that occurred in August 2015 in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) jurisdiction. A Military Police member assisted with the RCMP investigation as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). The Military Police member arrived at the RCMP Detachment, identified himself as a DRE and proceeded to conduct an evaluation on the complainant. Following the DRE evaluation, the Military Police member demanded the complainant provide a urine sample. The Military Police member then realized that he did not have the proper sample collector and had someone from the Military Police Detachment deliver an approved container, resulting in a short delay.

Two months later, the Military Police member forwarded the laboratory urine analysis to the RCMP investigator, explaining that regardless of the fact that he properly determined the category of drugs in the complainant’s body, the criminal charges for drug-impaired driving could not be pursued as his DRE certification had since been rescinded. This was due to an issue with a DRE course evaluator, which led to the rescinding of all the course participants’ DRE qualifications.

The complainant filed a complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) about the conduct of the Military Police member involved. The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal’s Professional Standards (PS) office investigated the complaint in the first instance and found that at the time of the incident, the subject member was qualified to conduct the DRE evaluation as his certification had not been rescinded. As there was no indication of misconduct on the part of the Military Police member, PS determined that no further investigation was necessary.

The complainant requested that the MPCC review PS’ disposition of his complaint. The MPCC conducted an investigation into the following allegations: 1) The subject member improperly failed to confirm that he was in fact DRE certified prior to assisting with the RCMP investigation; 2) The subject member intentionally misled the complainant in causing him to believe he was DRE certified in order to have him participate in the examination and obtain his urine sample; 3) The subject member improperly failed to mention in the DRE evaluation narrative that he did not bring the proper container for a urine sample with him at the RCMP Detachment thus requiring him to drive back to the Military Police detachment to obtain the correct container; 4) The subject member should not have obtained the complainant’s urine sample three hours and thirty five minutes after the initial DRE demand was read; and 5) The subject member improperly forwarded his DRE and toxicology reports to the RCMP after knowing he was not DRE certified and without advising the RCMP investigator that his report(s) should not be submitted as evidence or forwarded to any party. In addition, the MPCC looked into allegations that the subject member’s supervisors improperly failed to ensure the validity of his DRE certificate following the completion of the course and on the date of the occurrence involving the complainant.

There were no Military Police member notes, shadow file, or Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system entry on this incident at the Military Police Detachment where the subject member was stationed at the time of the incident.

The MPCC found all allegations to be unsubstantiated. The MPCC found that the Military Police member was first advised there was an issue with his DRE qualification well after he conducted the evaluation on the complainant. As it was reasonable for him to assume that his DRE status was valid at the time, the MPCC found that the DRE evaluation was done in good faith. The MPCC considered it was not necessary for the Military Police member to mention in his DRE evaluation that he did not bring with him a sample collector, which caused a delay. The MPCC noted the delay in obtaining the urine sample while waiting for the sample collector was in fact very short, and found there was no issue with the timing of the DRE demands or the actions taken as a result. The MPCC considered the Military Police member followed the DRE protocols in place when he sent the DRE evaluation report and laboratory analysis to the RCMP and that it was appropriate for him to do so, as he was assisting with the RCMP investigation. The MPCC notes the Military Police member was upfront, transparent and diligent when forwarding the laboratory analysis, as he duly pointed out that his DRE certificate had been rescinded and that the evidence he obtained could not be used to support a charge against the complainant. Finally, the MPCC found that there was no reason for the Military Police member’s supervisors to question the validity of the DRE certificate following the completion of the course and on the date of the incident, as the certification issue surfaced well after the Military Police member conducted the DRE evaluation on the complainant. As such, even if his supervisors had inquired at the time, the answer they would have received was that the DRE certificate was valid.

The MPCC made four recommendations to address certain deficiencies identified during the Commission’s review. In particular, the MPCC recommended that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) ensure that Military Police members record all police activities in their notebooks, enter requests for assistance into the CAD system, that the CFPM ensure that Military Police members verify that their DRE kits are complete at all times and in particular when attending at the roadside or providing assistance to other police services, and that the CFPM direct that Military Police members attach a copy of their DRE certificate to their DRE reports.

In response to the Commission’s Report, the CFPM accepted all of the Commission’s findings.  The CFPM also accepted three of the Commission’s four recommendations, noting that Observation Letters would be sent to the appropriate Chains of Command.

The recommendation that a copy of the member’s DRE certificate be attached to any DRE reports submitted was not accepted. The reason provided by the CFPM for not accepting this recommendation was that this is not common practice within Canadian and American law enforcement.  The Commission noted that this recommendation was meant to set a best practice in order to limit the risk of creating delays in criminal proceedings and in the complaints process as a result of the need to locate the certificate. It should be noted that the MPCC had difficulty in locating and obtaining the subject member’s DRE certificate which resulted in significant delay. As a result, the MPCC was not satisfied with the CFPM’s response to this recommendation.

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