Dismissal upheld for peeing policeman

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A police oversight board has upheld the firing of a former Edmonton police officer and army sniper, who urinated on a co-worker’s leg.

Seven-year-veteran Const. Rob Furlong was dismissed from the Edmonton Police Service in April last year, following a series of incidents at a riot control exercise in 2011.

As well as urinating on a colleague’s leg, Furlong also swore at another officer, before pushing him into another room and confining him there.

According to the report, while out of town for the exercise, Furlong returned to the bunks after a night of drinking and tried to wake his fellow officers. When one officer refused to join him, and swore at Furlong to go away, Furlong unzipped his fly and urinated on his sleeping bag. Furlong later berated the officer for not being a “team player” and performing poorly at the G20 in Toronto.

Furlong told his disciplinary hearing that he had sought help for problems with alcohol.

In his decision during the original hearing, presiding officer Supt. Mark Logar said, “It would be hard to find an example of misconduct that was more dehumanizing and degrading to another human being. This could certainly be remarked with respect to the urination on another member, but would attract similar, though possibly just a bit less forceful observations with respect to the pushing, derogatory language and confinement. People might well inquire about just what kind of police service they have.”

In December 2012 Furlong appealed his dismissal. That decision was overturned by the Law Enforcement Review Board, an independent civilian oversight panel, which said the punishment was too severe. Instead, the board demoted Furlong in rank for the equivalent of two years’ seniority.

The Edmonton Police Service then appealed the decision to the Alberta Court of Appeal, which ruled a new review panel should re-examine the penalty imposed during Furlong’s original disciplinary hearing. The latest board panel agreed with the original decision, and said the dismissal fell within a range of acceptable outcomes.

“The presiding officers’ decision that the appellant be dismissed immediately from the Edmonton Police Service is affirmed and the appeal is dismissed,” a panel wrote in its decision. “We conclude, after very careful deliberation, that the presiding officers’ decision on penalty was reasonable — it was a decision that was available to him in light of the facts as he found them and in light of the law.”

However, the issue may not yet be over. The decision is being appealed by the police officer’s union, the  Edmonton Police Association, said. If the court grants the association leave to seek appeal, the process could be drawn out for several more months.

“It’s the system that we’ve been cursed with,” association president Sgt. Tony Simioni told the Edmonton Journal. “We’re cursed with a system that is more comparable to the snakes and ladder game that children play.”

Furlong, a former sniper with the Canadian Forces, has since started a marksmanship academy that offers courses throughout the province.

The case raises questions around addicts in the workplace, and their impact on coworkers.

 

  • CM on 2013-08-22 8:53:13 AM

    The Court and the Superintendent have made the right decision. That kind of individual is a blemish to any police force. Not least, we the public don't want people capable a such behavior loose on our streets with a gun

  • MB on 2013-08-22 1:06:00 PM

    As much as this is alarming, medical conditions including "addiction" is a mitigating factor. Whether this was seriously scoped out and substantiated to form part of the disciplinary decision. There is a duty to accommodate as we'll if such substantiated medical problems exist. Perhaps a lesser penalty and mandatory rehab. Exhaust this avenue first and the employee should accept a last chance agreement in the event he does not fulfill his obligations, then dismiss. I suspect the appeal may raise human rights and prohibited grounds and impose a lesser penalty based on an substantiated accommodation issues. But I agree with the comment above, it is alarming to think that a mindset like that is supposedly protecting us. However police a human as well and addiction does not discriminate re occupation. There is a duty to accommodate when medical issues are legit.

  • BN on 2013-08-23 1:14:16 PM

    Yeah he probably would get in much more serious trouble actually serving the public who is generally not as well armed as he is. So it was a good decision.

  • Diane J. on 2013-08-27 4:16:45 PM

    There are many other duties available to a police officer that don't include direct interaction with the public, never mind being armed and on the streets. Perhaps there is work writing procedure manuals, or doing research for ongoing cases. Seven years does deserve some consideration, especially if this is an isolated incident.

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