Nova Scotia

Criminal charges being pursued against three Halifax police officers, says chief

The chief of the Halifax Regional Police says criminal charges are being pursued against three officers accused of committing crimes in the municipality in the last few weeks.

'These incidents did occur, we will deal with them,' says Dan Kinsella

Dan Kinsella is chief of the Halifax Regional Police. (CBC)

The chief of the Halifax Regional Police says criminal charges are being pursued against three officers accused of committing crimes in the municipality in the last few weeks.

Dan Kinsella said Thursday the three incidents should not overshadow the good work that police officers in the city do every day.

"These incidents did occur, we will deal with them, we will always deal with them. The other thing I can tell you is that we got out in front and notified the public right away with the details that we could," Kinsella said at a news conference.   

The first officer was arrested around mid-September after something was stolen from a business. Police have not identified the officer, who is suspended with pay, which is in line with the Nova Scotia Police Act.

The next arrest happened less than a week later when Det. Const. Joseph Farrow, 51, was charged with unlawfully entering a home and sexual assault. The Serious Incident Response Team, the province's police watchdog, said Farrow knew the owner of the home, whom he is accused of sexually assaulting. 

Farrow is also suspended with pay.

'This behaviour will not be tolerated'

The third officer was arrested after a domestic incident Monday evening in Eastern Passage.

RCMP said the incident involved a male officer and a woman he knows. Traffic in both directions on Caldwell Road between Hornes Road and Hines Road was shut down for several hours.

RCMP said the officer was arrested nearby. No one was injured, and RCMP said the woman was not with the officer at the time of the threats incident.

The officer was eventually released. The acting director of the Serious Incident Response Team said Wednesday the investigation continues and the results will determine whether charges will be laid.

Kinsella said he expects the officer could soon be suspended.

'One charge is one too many'

In the last five years, 10 Halifax Regional Police officers and two civilian members have been arrested, according to Kinsella.

"We're all human and we're subject to the frailties and things that happen in peoples' lives, I can't predict why or when someone will act outside of the requirements," he said.

"The vast majority of the members of the Halifax Regional Police are living the core values, they're upholding the law, they're coming to work everyday, they're working hard and going the extra mile."

Kinsella said the police force is working to make sure incidents like these will never happen again.

"This behaviour will not be tolerated and one arrest, one charge is one too many," he said.  

Tony Mancini is Halifax's deputy mayor and sits on the board of police commissioners. (CBC)

All the accusations against officers raise a lot of questions, said Halifax's deputy mayor Tony Mancini, who sits on the board of police commissioners. 

 "Having three incidents in one month is alarming, having one is too many. You know, are there things we can do as a municipality and as a police force to prevent any of these things? Do we have the right systems in place?" Mancini said. 

He doesn't know what supports are in place for officers in Halifax, but said he will work to find out.    

Mancini said more information is needed to determine if these three incidents could be considered a trend, and it's too early to tell if a internal investigation is warranted. 

"Lets have some more discussion, lets find out what's going on," he said.