Fredericton paid suspended officers over $400K in 2 years
Fredericton Police paid suspended officers $875K in past decade, $476K on disciplinary legal fees
The Fredericton Police Force has spent more than $1.35 million on disciplinary actions, including salaries for suspended officers and legal fees, in the past decade, CBC News has learned.
The information, obtained through a request under the Right to Information Act, shows the force paid $875,586.77 in wages to officers who were suspended with pay since 2007.
Municipal and regional forces in New Brunswick cannot suspend an officer without pay.
The Fredericton police also spent $476,685.03 on legal fees relating to arbitration hearings, settlement conferences and Police Act investigations in the same period.
The two most recent calendar years — 2014 and 2015 — saw the largest combined totals of disciplinary spending and suspension pay.
The force paid $154,530.56 in suspension salaries in 2014, and $264,904.84 in 2015.
Legal costs in the same two years were $135,732 and $88,727 respectively.
Much of that money was spent on the two high profile cases of former Const. Cherie Campbell and former Const. Jeff Smiley.
- Const. Jeff Smiley dismissed from Fredericton Police Force
- Fired Fredericton police officer, union criticize chief
Both were fired within the past seven months, following arbitration hearings. Both terminations are now also under judicial reviews.
Const. Darrell Brewer is suspended while he faces a charge of impaired driving.
Another officer is suspended while being investigated for alleged misappropriation of funds from the New Brunswick Police Association. That officer had served on the executive of the organization.
Police Chief Leanne Fitch declined an interview request with CBC News, but police spokesperson Alycia Bartlett provided the following statement:
"Given that [there] are still judicial review decisions outstanding, the chief will not be able to provide any further comment at this time, so as not to prejudice that process. These are issues that will be addressed in due time."
The Atlantic Council of Carpenters, the union representing Fredericton Police Local 911, also declined to comment on the topic.
Regional manager Andrew Dawson said the union is currently in contract negotiations with the city and he feels it would be "inappropriate to comment at this time."
The new information comes as the Police Act review process begins in Fredericton this week.
There are 31 proposed reforms to the New Brunswick Police Act. They include the ability to be able to suspend officers without pay.