Drunken brawl was catalyst to change life, Mountie says
A Saskatchewan RCMP officer who has been suspended twice for alcohol-related incidents says he is seeking help.
"I think it's widely held knowledge amongst people like me who have had to battle these demons is that you have to hit your bottom," Sgt. Warren Gherasim told CBC News on Thursday.
Gherasim didn't quite get there in 2006, when he was involved in an off-duty crash near Cut Knife, Sask., after an evening of drinking.
The Warman officer was not charged, but he was suspended for eight days without pay and, in March, 2010, stripped of his Governor General's Order of Merit.
Just days before the award was taken away, Gherasim was involved in drunken night of partying in Calgary that led to his removal from a hotel for loud partying and aggressive behaviour. Gherasim was disciplined for that behaviour in May, 2011, at an RCMP adjudication board hearing in Ottawa..
CBC News has obtained the RCMP documents from that hearing, which outline the events of Feb. 17, 2010.
Hotel fight leads to arrest and RCMP suspension
Gherasim was supposed to fly to Saskatoon that day, but bad weather diverted his flight to Calgary and the airline put the passengers up at the Delta Bow Valley Hotel.
Gherasim began drinking at an airport lounge, where he met another passenger from the flight, described only as "Mr. S" in the RCMP documents.
The two shared a cab to the hotel, stopping en route so Gherasim could buy a bottle of scotch and some cigars.
The two then went to the Mountie's room where they continued partying. They drained most of the 700 millilitre bottle of scotch, and at some point in the night Gherasim let Mr. S handle and dry-fire his service revolver.
Gherasim put the gun away and passed out on his bed. At about 4:30 a.m. Mr. S tried to wake him by slapping him, which led to a fight. It was so loud other guests called hotel security, which was the third complaint from guests that night.
The previous complaints led to warnings, but this time security restrained Gherasim, who was described as being "angry, belligerent and verbally abusive to them." The hotel phoned Calgary Police, who arrested Gherasim for public intoxication and breach of the peace. When the officers placed Gherasim in the police van he kicked the roof of the van, yelling comments such as "I'm a f--king sergeant in the RCMP" and "I'll have all of your f--king jobs!"
One of the constables who processed Gherasim also observed him spitting on the floor by her feet.
Gherasim spent the night in a police cell and was released in the morning without charges.
The RCMP did not let him off that easy, suspending Gherasim without pay for 10 days. The RCMP adjudication board also ordered him to enter addictions treatment, take random drug and alcohol tests, and abstain from drugs and alcohol for two years.
The hotel charged Gherasim $925 to compensate other guests for their sleepless night
Gherasim did not want to speak to CBC about that night, but he says it was a catalyst for change.
"I sought counseling, I sought help that was available out there and I encourage anybody that has negative impact from alcohol abuse in their life to do the same," Gherasim said.
The adjudication board also recommended Gherasim be transferred, but he is still at the Warman detachment.