Dismissed in 2004,
2 Mounties keep jobs
Immature behaviour was not sufficient reason
to lose their jobs, RCMP adjudication board says
Lori Culbert, Vancouver Sun, Sept. 4, 2009
It was a high-profile story five years ago when two Mounties were ordered to resign for exchanging offensive e-mails on police cruiser computers. But now an RCMP adjudication board has overturned those dismissals, ruling the two officers can keep their jobs after all.
Const. Deri Kinsey and Const. Satnam Dhaliwal were based in North Vancouver in 2002 when they exchanged hundreds of e-mails, which the ruling said were vulgar, sexually suggestive, racially insensitive, disparaging, or expressed a desire to use improper force.
The officers were ordered to resign in 2004 following their first disciplinary hearing, but they appealed. The commissioner of the RCMP rejected their appeal in 2006, but the Federal Court of Canada ordered a new disciplinary hearing in 2007.
The RCMPs adjudication board reheard the case in January and its ruling, written in February and recently obtained by The Vancouver Sun, said the pairs continued employment with the force could be accepted for two reasons: Kinsey and Dhaliwal have the support of their superior officers, and have apologized for their immature and inappropriate conduct.
While the recent ruling found the officers had indeed acted disgracefully and brought discredit to the force, it ordered the officers to forfeit 10 days pay rather than being fired.
The members placed the force in an awkward position as our organization strongly supports our core values, including respect and professionalism, the ruling said.
The members agreed that their conduct was foolish and immature, but dismissal was far too harsh a sanction as they have since proven their ability to be functioning members of the force.
The case made headlines in 2004 when the content of the text messages, sent via mobile work stations in their police cars, were made public. About 50 messages were laced with obscene or vulgar words, 46 were sexually explicit, and 26 were racist or violent or belittled colleagues.
The 2004 disciplinary hearing said the men should not keep their jobs because the underlying themes of the e-mails included disrespect and extreme degradation for women, ridiculing homosexuals, and arrogance and superiority toward co-workers.
But the 2009 ruling said correcting deviant behaviour, when possible, is a better outcome than dismissal for the officers and for the RCMP.
Dismissal normally represents a loss of a valuable, experienced employee and involves the cost of recruiting and training a new employee, said the ruling, written by adjudication board chairman Supt. J.F. Reid.
When the report was written in February, both officers were described as dedicated and hard-working. Kinsey was then an acting corporal, and Dhaliwal was being supported for such a promotion.
The report does not say where the officers are now based. An RCMP media relations officer said he was unable to respond to questions about the case.