Abbotsford officer fired for fraud and ‘concerning text messages’ to sex-trade workers

Among concluded files listed in annual report from Police Complaint Commissioner

An Abbotsford Police officer was fired from the force after committing fraud and after “concerning text messages” to sex-trade workers were found on his cellphone and he was found to have communicated with a person who illegally sold steroids.

He was among two officers from Abbotsford who had “substantiated allegations” against them concluded through the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.

The OPCC – a civilian oversight agency – recently released its annual report on that time frame.

The report details disciplinary or corrective measures that were taken against officers in Abbotsford, Delta, Vancouver, New Westminster, Saanich and other areas that have municipal police departments in B.C.

The Abbotsford-related incidents were among 628 allegations concluded during that period for all municipal police agencies.

RELATED: 11 Abbotsford Police officers no longer part of OPCC investigation into misconduct

RELATED: B.C. police chief says ‘work to do’ in wake of review of sex harassment complaints

The OPCC report indicates that the officer who was fired was investigated following several allegations of misconduct in 2014.

The criminal investigation involved a search of his cellphone through which “a number of concerning text messages were found,” the OPCC report states.

The messages were exchanged between November 2013 and January 2014.

The investigation also revealed that the officer had communicated between October and December 2013 with a person who illegally sold steroids.

That same officer was also found to have committed fraud between January 2013 and April 2014 by claiming a woman and her son on his employment benefits, claiming they were living together when they were not.

He was eventually charged and sentenced for fraud, and was fired from the Abbotsford Police Department (APD).

The OPCC report does not link all those incidents to the one officer, but APD Sgt. Judy Bird confirmed they are the same person.

Another Abbotsford case involved an off-duty officer who was a registered guest at a hotel in July 2016, when there was a report of a disturbance that resulted in police attendance.

The officer spoke to the attending officers in an “unprofessional manner,” the OPCC report states.

The officer accepted responsibility for his/her actions, including disclosing the matter to their supervisor, and no disciplinary action was given other than “advice to future conduct,” according to the report.

At a pre-hearing conference into the matter, the OPCC agreed with that decision and no further action was taken.

The OPCC opened a total of 1,154 files in the period covered in the latest report. Of those, 94 were opened in Abbotsford, and four were ordered to be investigated.

The OPCC does not lay criminal charges, but looks for infractions under the Police Act. Officers deemed to have committed wrongdoing face disciplinary measures ranging from a written reprimand to a suspension or firing.

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